Summer Nurse

This story first appeared on another website and I had some difficulty remaining in contact with it. It is basically finished. I suppose it could have gone further, but I lost momentum.

In the fall, I’m starting my first year of medical school. I’ve dreamed of being a pediatrician since I was a little girl and I’m getting ready to make that dream come true. I got great grades in school and had a “full ride” so my mom and dad said they could pay for me to go to one of the best med schools in the U.S.

Since all of my friends have already begun their careers I thought it might keep the summer moving if I found a job. I always loved looking after kids, so I put my name and resume into a childcare agency. One of the nice things this agency does for the caregivers, is that it lets us pick where to go for interviews. The first potential client seemed perfect for me. Kevin O’Neil, age 15 months, only child; full time care from June 20-August 20, lived in nice neighborhood, family had a country club membership that I could use and the money was great. I’d be leaving for Med School on August 25, so it seemed like a great way to keep from dying of boredom for the summer.

So, off I went to Mrs. O’Neil’s place. It was a big, beautiful colonial house. When Mrs. O’Neil greeted me, she seemed a bit older than the mother of a 15 month old, but I’ve met some older moms before. We spoke for about an hour and a half. She explained that her husband had died the previous year and then her job transferred her here just a couple of weeks ago. I said that was a rough year for her, especially with a young son. She smiled sadly and said that it was, but Kevin is a good boy and didn’t really give her any trouble. (I liked how that sounded.) Kevin, she said, was a bright, friendly boy who was full of energy but a bit small for his age.

Her job made it necessary for her to go overseas for the summer and it was impossible for her to bring Kevin with her. The cleaning lady was only part time and wasn’t really suited to look after Kevin which is why she came to my agency.

I said I understood how difficult the situation could be for her and told her that I was fully equipped to take care of her little boy. I said I would make sure that he had stimulation everyday and plenty of rest. Trips to the zoo and the aquarium and that I had been trained in preparing nutritious but delicious food for children. She smiled at me a little strangely and said, “Well, that’s great.” But, I said, before we go any further, I’d like to meet him. I had packed a really cute little stuffed puppy that I thought might help me win him over.

She said, that Kevin wasn’t feeling well because of a really bad summer cold and allergies. The medicine the doctor had prescribed really knocked him out so he was having a little nap. I said that’s ok we don’t need to wake him then, could we just go up to have a look? Again, the strange smile when she said OK.

She led me upstairs to Kevin’s room. She opened the door a little and peaked in to make sure he was asleep. She walked into the room and I heard some talking. Mrs. O’Neil came out and said, it’s OK, he’s awake and would like to meet you. I put on my biggest smile and walked in to see little Kevin.

I stopped dead in my tracks. Instead of a toddler lying in a crib, I saw a boy sitting up in bed with an ipad on his lap and headphones clamped on his neck. I said, “Where’s Kevin.”

“Right here,” Mrs. O’Neil said.

“I thought he was 15 months old.”

She laughed, “No, he’s fifteen years old, but that explains why you were talking about him the way you were.”

I went into my bag and took out the papers from the agency and looked over them. They clearly said that Kevin was 15 months old. I showed them to her and she laughed again. “Well, he is small for his age, but not that small.”

“Mom! Stop talking about me like I’m not here.” Kevin spoke up for the first time.

“I’m sorry, sweetie.” His mom said with a wicked little grin. “Kevin, let me introduce Carolyn. She might be staying with you this summer while I’m out of the country. Carolyn, this is my little boy Kevin.”

“Hi, Carolyn. It’s nice to meet you. Mom can be sooo weird. Sorry about not coming down to meet you, but the medicine really makes me tired.”

“It’s Ok,” I said, “I understand.”

“You get your rest, Kevin, Carolyn and I need to talk.” Mrs. O’Neil said. “I’ll see you at dinner,” she added as she kissed him on his forehead. He squirmed but smiled as she did this. “I think you might have a fever, I’ll be back in a little bit to take your temperature.”

We went back to the living room and Mrs. O’Neil laughed. “Well, I can see Kevin isn’t what you were expecting. But if you can put up with the disappointment of not having a toddler to look after, I think you would be great. Kevin’s eyes lit up as soon as he saw you. I think he might even have a bit of a crush on you.”

I thought for a moment and then I said that I’d love to do it.

“Great, now let me tell you a bit about the care and feeding of Kevin O’Neil…”
Part 2
So, Mrs. O’Neil started off by telling me that I should call her Terri and I let her know that only my grandma called my Carolyn, everyone else called me Carrie. With that out of the way, she started to explain a little bit about Kevin. We talked about a bunch of things and then the conversation got interesting.

She said, “Kevin was born a bit premature and only weighed four and a half pounds at birth. It was a good two weeks before we were able to take him out of the hospital. He’s always been small since then. The doctors said he’d catch up, and he’s had a few growth spurts lately, but he is still only about four feet tall and only ways about 60 pounds. The child development charts say he’s about the size of your average 9 year old.”

“Is he sensitive about his size?” I asked.

“No, not really. His dad was short, only about 5’ 4” and I’m only about 5’ 2" myself so he didn’t feel bad about being little. We joke about it a little bit, but it never really was an issue. Part of is that he’s a great athlete."

“Really?” I asked surprised.

“Oh sure, you know football, ultimate fighting, that sort of thing.”


“Wow, you’re gullible,” she laughed. “No, he does do karate and has a brown belt but his real sport is gymnastics. He’s small but it’s all muscle. In fact, next week is his last formal practice for the summer. Then the studio goes on vacation. It’s the day before I leave, so I can still take him to it.”

“That’s cool. I did gymnastics when I was little, too and I loved it. What’s his event?”

“He’s great in all of the ones the boys do, but his specialty is floor exercises. When he’s feeling better ask him to do a back flip for you.”

“I will. I’d like to see that. He reminds me a bit of my little brother when he was that age.”

“Fifteen, you mean?” She asked with a grin.

I blushed a bit, “Oops, no I meant when he was 9. I’ll have to be careful about that. But he has the same blue eyes, the same freckles and the same strawberry blond hair Mikey has. He really is cute.”

“I wanted to mention this, but you look like you could be his big sister, or maybe even an aunt. I think that’s going to make it easier for him to handle having a babysitter for the summer. He can say that he’s got a cousin keeping an eye on him.”

“You mentioned that he had a special diet.”

“Yes, he has celiac disease. Do you know what that is?”

“Yeah, one of my roommates in college had it. She had to be careful to avoid anything with gluten and we had to be careful not to contaminate her food with anything we brought in.”

“That’s right. Kevin knows what he can and can not eat. I’ve had him be responsible for that since he was young and he’s very good about it. The only special thing that I’d need you to do is make him a special oatmeal in the morning. He’s kind of a zombie before he eats. Then, take him shopping with you. He knows what to buy.”

“No problem. Anything else?”

“This is a little sensitive, but it’s important and I’d understand if you change your mind about this summer after you hear it. But, since you were looking to babysit a toddler…”

“What is it?”

“Kevin isn’t dry at night and needs to wear pull ups to bed.”

“Oh.” I said.

“Is that a problem?”

“No it isn’t at all. That little brother I mentioned, he’d kill me if he knew I said this, but he had the same problem until he was 12. So, I’m not freaked by it or anything, but is Kevin okay with me knowing about this. With my brother it was only mom and dad and me. Even my older siblings who were out of the house were in the dark about it.”

“Well, we talked about it and he wasn’t thrilled about telling you, but he saw if you were going to be living here you’d probably find out anyway and we both thought it would be better if it were out in the open. Besides. they aren’t diapers and you won’t be changing him. He takes care of all that himself.”

We hammered out some other details and then made an appointment to go to the agency to take care of paperwork the next day. There were releases and waivers to sign and she had to authorize me to make medical decisions for Kevin while she was abroad. When all that was out of the way, it was just about a week until I moved my stuff into the house for the summer.
Part 3
Part 3
Terri was leaving on June 25 for Britain and the plan was that I was going to move in on to 20th to get settled and see how the routine worked. When I rang the door that afternoon, it opened immediately and Kevin was standing there, smiling shyly. He held out his hand and said, “Hello, Carolyn. Welcome to our home. May I help you with your luggage?” It was too cute, he clearly had rehearsed what he was saying, trying to act mature. I think he really did have a crush on me. So, I replied very formally, “Good afternoon Kevin. Thank you for meeting me.” Then I giggled and he started to blush and giggle too. I kissed him on the cheek and said, “Call me Carrie. I think we’re going to get along great.”

He helped me bring my bags into my room. I think he would have asked me if he could help me unpack if his mom hadn’t come by and shooed him away. She said, “Thanks for helping Carrie, Kevin. Now beat it for a while so that Carrie and I can have some girltalk.”

“I’ll see you at dinner, Carrie.” He said as he stuck out his tongue at his mother. She laughed as she swatted at his backside, and he deftly dodged her.

“Are you all set to look after my little monster?” She asked once Kevin was heading down the stairs.

“I think so. He was so cute when he met me, he really tries to act like a grownup. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

“You’re not disappointed about watching a teenager instead of a toddler, are you?”

“Honestly, a little. But this will probably be easier.”

“I was thinking, Kevin doesn’t have too many friends here just yet. We’ve only been here a couple of weeks and he really just knows the kids from gymnastics. I didn’t start him in school when we moved here because it was so late in the year. They high school just gave us some worksheets for him to do so that he’s ready for freshman year in the fall. If you want to take him on a trips to the zoo and to the aquarium, I don’t think he’d object. He loves animals and it would be better than having him stay inside all summer playing on the computer.”

“Cool. I’d like to do that. I was thinking, my family is having a reunion on Cape Cod over the week of the Fourth of July. I wasn’t going to go because of staying with Kevin, but my mom told me to let you know that he’s invited. If you say it’s okay, I’d like to bring him.”

“It sounds fine to me, but we should ask Kevin.”

“Did you say he’s going to be a freshman in the fall? Shouldn’t he be a sophomore?”

“Agewise, yes. But he missed so much school when he was little that he had to repeat kindergarten. It’s odd, he’s always been one of the oldest in his class, but also one of the smallest.”

Since it was my first night we had kind of a celebration. Dinner was steaks and salad and corn on the cob. And I got to know Kevin. He was a really sweet kid. He was funny and told good stories. We even liked a lot of the same TV shows. It was weird though. On one level I knew I was talking to a teenager who was an honor student and was starting high school, on another I wanted to cut his meat for him.

When dinner was over, we cleaned up and then watched TV for a while. At around 10:00, Terri told Kevin that it was time for bed. Because he had an early morning practice at the gymnastics studio tomorrow. So, he got up kissed his mom good night and then came over and gave me a kiss on the cheek too. My heart melted.

A little after that, I got up and went to my room to get ready for bed. I changed into my typical sleepwear of a tank top and running shorts. I got into the habit of wearing this to bed so that I could go for a five mile run as soon as I woke up and then shower after that.

The bathroom for Kevin and me was located between our rooms with doors that went to our respective rooms. When I got to the bathroom I began unpacking my stuff. There were two medicine chests. Kevin’s was on the left, mine on the right. So I put my things in my medicine chest and then began to look around for a place to put my hair dryer. I opened the doors under the sink and found a diaper genie and a bag of Pampers Underjams and a bag of Goodnites. I’d kind of forgotten about that.
Part 4
The next morning I got up for my usual run. I wasn’t really familiar with the town so I took it slow to have a look around. The houses were all big and nicely landscaped. The O’Neil’s was no different. Actually, it looked a bit like the town I grew up in. In my neighborhood, the houses were a bit newer, post-war, but just as nice. (I don’t make a fuss about it, because that’s how my parents brought me up, but my mom and dad have a lot of money.)

I got back home and took my shower. I was standing by the mirror in my bathrobe (another habit from college) brushing my teeth when Kevin’s door opened and he walked in, actually kind of toddled, staring at the floor. He was wearing a tee shirt with Angry Bird on it and drooping below that was a very wet Goodnite.

“Hi, Kevin,” I said. He gasped and looked up when he heard my voice.

“Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!” he said as he retreated. “I forgot you were here.”

“It’s okay, sweetie, mistakes happen. I should have thrown the bolt on your door. I forgot to.” Then I heard him trip and fall and whimper a little. I stepped into his room and saw him lying on the ground crying.

“Are you all right?” I asked.

“Yes… no… I don’t know,” he sobbed. “I banged my knee…and you saw me like this…and…and…”

“Oh Kevin, don’t worry I knew about the pullups, remember, your mom told me. Does your knee hurt a lot?”

“No, I guess it was just everything and I wanted to make a good impression, now you think I’m a baby.”

I knelt down next to him and put my arm over his shoulder and he cried a little while. While he was crying I looked around the room, really for the first time. I was a bit distracted the last time I was here. It looked like a typical teenage boy’s bedroom. He liked sci fi, so there were some movie posters, pennants for the Mets and the Giants, a couple gymnastics trophies and medals, some framed certificates from school, a desk with a computer on it, a little TV, lots of books in neat rows on his bookshelves. On the top of his dresser sat stuffed dog and a teddy bear that looked to have been lovingly preserved since childhood. Nothing unusual, except that it was much cleaner than my brother kept his room. Then I looked at the bed and I noticed that it had rails on it like you’d see on a hospital bed.

Once he calmed down I said, “Give me a minute to finish up and then the bathroom is all yours and I’ll see you at breakfast.”

When I got to the kitchen I told Terri about what happened and she said, “Well, it sounds like you did a good job handling that little crisis. Sorry for the excitement this early.”

I asked her about the rails on the bed. “Oh, those. We’ve had those so long I forgot about them. Kevin sleepwalks sometimes, or at least he did. It didn’t seem safe to lock the door so we had the rails installed on the bed at our last house. I don’t know if he needs them or not any more, but he likes to put them up sometimes. I think it makes him feel secure. He’s had a rough year, losing his dad, moving and all, I pretend not to notice when he uses them.”

Then she chuckled, “Did you notice the teddy bear and the puppy on the dresser.” I nodded yes. “Well,” she said, “sometimes after he’s had a really rough day, I notice that those guys are in different positions in the morning.”

I smiled and said, “That is so cute… shhh, here he comes.”

Kevin sat down at the breakfast counter and looked down at his placemat and said, “Sorry about before. It won’t happen…”

I said, “Kev, I told you it was all right. Don’t make a big deal about it.” I reached over and ruffled his hair and was rewarded by an absolutely adorable smile.
Part 5
“So,” I asked, “what are we doing today?”

Terri looked at Kevin, raised her eyebrows, and nodded her head at Kevin.

Kevin swallowed and squeaked, “Carrie, could you bring me to gymnastics? It’s on the other side of town and I’d ride my bike, but it’s supposed to rain today?”

“Sure, I’d love to. Can I stay and watch or is it a closed practice?”

Kevin started to smile and began speaking really fast. “You can watch, there are always parents and brothers and sisters watching. Mom usually brings me and sticks around but she can’t today because she’s getting ready for the trip.” And then his face dropped and he just said, “Oh…”

“What’s the matter?” Terri asked

“Adults have to sign in and write how they are related to the gymnasts. They don’t want pervs watching the little kids doing gymnastics.”

“So?” I asked.

“We’re not related,” he answered. “You’d have to put you were my babysitter and I’m fifteen. I don’t want people to know I have a babysitter.”

“Well, I could say I’m your cousin. It might be true, my mom’s maiden name is O’Neal. She spells it differently, but you never know. So, we’ll tell everyone that I’m your cousin and I’m staying with you for the summer to save some money until I leave for med school. How’s that sound?”

He brightened up, “That sound great, Cousin Carrie!”

“Just ‘Carrie’ if you don’t mind. ‘Cousin Carrie’ sounds like something out of a horror novel.”

We hammered out plans for what we’d do after gymnastics - lunch, a movie, and then home - and about 20 minutes later were on our way to the gymnastics studio in Terri’s Mercedes two-seater, which I’d get to use for the whole summer. You can’t say this job didn’t have perks.

Kevin hopped out of the car and grabbed my hand and practically dragged me to the front door. A group of moms were standing around after signing in and a boy about my age came over to us and said, "Hi Kevin, who’s your friend?

“Hey Tom, this is my cousin Carrie. Is it okay if she watches practice?” Kevin responded.

“Of course it is. Let me get her full name.” Then he turned to me and said, “Hi, Carrie. My name’s Tom. I’m the assistant coach. Could I get your full name?”

“Carolyn Sullivan,” I replied.

“Relationship to Kevin?”


“Cell phone number?”

“Nice try,” I laughed.

“You can’t blame a guy for trying. Kevin, we’re starting with floor exercises. Go warm up and then come over to the left mat. I want you to show some of the stuff we worked on last time to the little guys.”

Kevin trotted off and Tom said, “Kevin is like having another coach here. The little guys love him because he’s not much bigger than them and he’s always willing to help. I guess he’s less intimidating. Next year, when he’s sixteen, we’re going to offer him a job.”

“Is he that good?”

“Well, he’s not Olympic caliber, but I could see him doing well in high school and even collegiate competition if he sticks with it.”

The practice began and I was blown away with what I saw. I got to see the back flip Terri told me about, and then some. It was also cute to see all these little boys crowding around Kevin and him very patiently showing them what to do. At that moment I saw the young man and not the little boy.

When practice ended, he ran over to me sweating and flushed with excitement. “What did you think?” he asked.

“You were awesome.”

“Thanks. It was a good practice. I just gotta shower and then we can get going. I’ll be right back.”

About 15 minutes later. I had the little boy again. Kevin came out of the locker room with his hair neatly combed and gelled. He was wearing a powder blue golf shirt from Brooks Brothers, a pair of plaid cargo shorts, and boat shoes. I think he thought it looked sophisticated, but it really looked like the way my mom dressed my little brother to go to church during the summer.

When he came over I said, “My, you look handsome.”

“Why, thank you,” he replied, “shall we make for the egress?”

“Sure, why not,” I laughed and we were on our way to the mall.
Part 6
We were on our way to the mall when my cell phone went off. “Kevin,” I said, “could you see who it is? My phone’s in the front pocket of my bag.”

“Sure. It’s Mom. Do you want to pretend we’re not here?”

“Just answer it,” I laughed.

“Carolyn Sullivan’s Office, how shall I direct your call?…Yeah, it went really well…We’re on our way now…It starts at 2:15…I don’t know, about 5:30 I guess…I’ll ask her.”

“Carrie, Mom wants to know if we could stop off at the store on the way home. She said she’ll email you the shopping list.”

“Sure, no problem,” I answered.

“She said no problem…I’ll ask.”

"Hey Carrie, do you like Chinese food?

“Love it.”

“Loves it…sure…no problem…love you too…Bye, Mommy.”

“Mommy?” I thought, but I didn’t say anything.

“Hey Kevin, while you’ve got my phone out, why don’t you put in your contact info.”

“OK. Can I get yours when we get home. I ran the battery down so I left my phone home to recharge.”

“Sure thing.”

“Now, why is this bag freakin’ huge?”

“Oh, that’s kind of funny. My oldest sister gave my middle sister a baby shower about a year ago and I ordered her a diaper bag online, but I goofed and I got two of the same one, so I kept this one for myself.”

“Really, it’s a diaper bag?”


“I thought Mom was weird.”

“Well look at it. It doesn’t really look that much like a diaper bag. See, no bunnies or duckies. But it’s big enough for me to carry my ipad, a couple of school books, my water bottle, even a change of clothes if I think I might have to stay over somewhere.”

“I guess that makes sense…Wow, I’ve never seen the mall this crowded.”

We had just turned into the parking lot and it was packed. Cars everywhere. “Wow is right,” I said, “some of the moms at the gymnastics studio were saying there’s this thing called Kid-Expo going on. It’s like an indoor carnival. I guess with the crummy weather everybody and his mother decided to come here…Hey maybe you could get your face painted.”

“Not likely,” he said, “Do you think the movie will be sold out?”

“Not to worry, I already bought the tickets on line and besides it’s PG13. These little tykes won’t be seeing Avengers 7 or whatever we’re seeing.”

We parked the car in the garage and headed for the door to the mall. When we got inside there were people everywhere. Booths were set up in the middle of the mall and there were jugglers and clowns and on a stage a group of acrobats were performing. “Hey look, face painting,” I said.

“No way.”

“Fine, be that way. You’d better stick close, if we get separated it will take forever for us to find each other.” As we moved through the mall Kevin kept getting bumped into and he’d call out for me to wait up. I nearly lost him a couple of times.

After a while I said, “Look, maybe we should hold hands. I’m afraid we’re going to lose each other.”

“Yeah, I guess so. This is hard and I don’t really stand out in a crowd.”

So, off we went holding hands. I have to admit, I kind of liked it. The crowd thinned out as we moved further into the mall, but Kevin still held onto my hand. At one point we passed a wall that was polished steel and I could see our reflection. There I was dressed in a skirt and polo shirt, with a diaper bag over my shoulder holding the hand of a little boy. We both had the “map of Ireland” on our faces as my granddad would have said. If I were a little older people probably would have thought I was his mommy. I kind of liked that too.

We got to the restaurant, and surprisingly it was nearly empty. The hostess seated us right away and Kevin excused himself to use the men’s room. While he was gone, the waitress came with two menus. An adult one for me, and the kids’ coloring book menu for Kevin, complete with crayons. I was about to say something when Kevin slid in next to me and the waitress said she’d be right back.

“I’ll let you see this when I’m done,” I said, “sorry about the kiddie menu.”

“Eh, I’m used to it by now. Besides I know what I want. I can’t really order off the regular menu.”

“Oh, yeah, right.”

The waitress came back and I let Kevin order first. He asked for a small salad with grilled chicken and a coke. He told the waitress that she had to be sure that she didn’t give him any croutons or bread because that would make him sick. I ordered the same as him, but I asked for an unsweetened iced tea.

While we were waiting for the food to come Kevin started asking me questions.

“Are you really going to Johns Hopkins in the fall?”

“You bet.”

“Where’d you go before?”


“You must be really smart.”

“Why do you sound surprised?”

“How many brothers and sisters do you have.”

“There are six of us. I have two older brothers, two older sisters and one younger brother.”

“What do they do?”

“The older boys are doctors, the girls are both raising their families, and my little brother is in his second year at the Naval Academy.”

“Wow, I think I might want to go there. Could I meet him, do you think?”

Now it was my turn to ask him some questions.

“Funny you should ask that. I wanted to know if you wanted to come with my family on a reunion/vacation on Cape Cod the first week in July? Your mom said she was Okay with her it but it was up to you.”

“Gee, I’d like to, but I don’t know.”

“Is it the night time stuff your worried about?”

“Kind of, plus what are you going to tell people, I’m the little boy your babysitting? That would be embarrassing.”

“Well first off, nobody is going to know about your sleeping issues. I’ve got it worked so that you and I will have adjoining rooms. My mom spoke to your mom, it turns out they know each other. So, we’re going to say you’re the son of one of my mom’s friends who is staying with us while she’s out of the country. We won’t have to use the “B” word.”

“Okay then, lets do it.”

“Excellent!” I said. And at the same moment the food arrived.

My iced tea was in one of the huge cups that you typically see in “casual eating” establishment. Kevin’s drink was in a little plastic cup with snap on lid and built in straw. Sponge Bob and Patrick Star were smiling out at us.

“Do you want me to ask her to bring you your drink in a normal cup?” I asked.

“Don’t worry about it. I have to watch how much I drink during the day too otherwise I keep having to go to the bathroom.”

We ate our salads. As we were finishing up. Kevin said, “Uh oh. I think there were some croutons in my salad.”

I called over the waitress and asked and she said, “Yeah, sorry about that. I forgot what you said about the croutons so I picked them off the plate before I served.”

I looked at Kevin. “Is this going to be a problem?”

“Maybe, I’m not sure, it’s been so long since I had anything with gluten.”

“Please get the manager,” I said.

When I explained what happened, he looked really angry. “My daughter has the same condition. I’ve told the staff they have to be really careful. I am so sorry. The meal is on the house and next time you’re here it will be on us, too. I really hope this doesn’t make you sick.”

“Well,” Kevin said, “I feel okay right now, but we’ll let you know.”

We got up and left. In the back of the restaurant I could see the manager reprimanding the waitress.
Part 7
Once again we were struggling through the mall. I said to Kevin, “You going to be all right? What happens when you get the wrong food?”

“It’s been a while, but stomach cramps, sometimes diarrhea. I feel okay, I’d rather not talk about it.”

“Sure. We’ve got about an hour to kill be for the movie. Anything you want to do? When I go malling with my girl friends we usually try on shoes. Interested?”

“Yuck. We could go to the game room over at Dave and Busters.”

“Your loss, they have some fine looking shoe store around here, but the game room it is.” We went in and I got us a swipe card and put $20 on it. I figured that should be enough to keep us busy for an hour. We wandered around and came to skeeball.

“Wow, I haven’t played this since I was in high school. I used to be really good.” I said.

“I bet you I could beat you.” Kevin replied.

“Oh yeah, how much?”

“I don’t really have any money. How about if I win, you have to mow the lawn for me on Saturday. It’s the one chore that I really don’t like to do.”

“Okay and if I win, you have to get your face painted.”

“What’s with you and face painting?” He asked then added, “Fine. You’re on.”

“Best two out of three?” I asked.


I won the first game, but only be 20 points. He won the second by 10 points. Then I demolished him on the final. Beating him by fifty points. He was a good sport about it and said, “Do I get to choose what they paint? I don’t want to get painted up like a fairy princess or something.”

“Sure, I bet they could do Darth Maul or something if you want.”

“That wouldn’t be so bad. How long to I have to wear this?”

“Always set your terms before you place a bet. But I’ll let you wash it off when we get home.”

“Let’s do it.”

So we went over to the booth where a couple of girls were doing face painting to raise money for 4H. They had about 10 styles to choose from. Well really two if you were a boy and didn’t want to be too cutesy. Kevin went with the tiger. “I like it,” I said, “it matches your hair.”

“Swell. At least nobody is going to recognize me like this. Lets go to the movie.”

I collected our tickets at the kiosk and in we went. I got us some snacks, Sno-caps for him and Junior mints for me and we went to the theater. The usher collecting the tickets smiled at Kevin and said, “Hi ya, tiger, enjoy the show.” Then he said to me, “It’s PG13, but I took my little brother to see it last week and he’s almost 8. It’s not that intense. It shouldn’t give him any bad dreams.” I smiled and said thanks, Kevin rolled his eyes.

We had our pick of seats and took two about midway down on the aisle. We got through about a dozen trailers then the movie started. Everything was going fine until about half way through the film. Then Kevin whispered, “Carrie, I don’t feel so good. Could we go?”

“Yeah, of course.” I grabbed my bag, took Kevin by the hand and we headed for the door.

The usher we spoke to before was standing by another theater and saw us. He called out, “Everything, Ok?”

“He’s not feeling well.” I called back.

“There is a family restroom to the left when you get to the lobby.”

We got there just in time. Kevin ran in, shut the door behind him and… Well I just waited for him to come out. I heard the flush, the sound of him washing his hands. Then he came looking a little shaken. I think under the orange and black paint he was probably a little pale. “Feeling better?” I asked.

“Feeling better. May be we could catch the end of the movie another time?”

“Sure. Let’s go home.”

“Mom wanted you to stop at the store, remember.”

“Yeah, but I can take you home first.”

“I’ll be okay.”

“You sure?”

He nodded yes so I said, “Okay, let’s go to the store.”

We went out to the car and drove to the local Target which was also their local supermarket. I asked Kevin if he wanted to wait in the car and he said he’d come in with me. I got out my iphone to see the list, put my bag in the seat of the shopping cart and we did our shopping.

I thought Kevin was looking better as we did our shopping. I got everything on the list. I let Kevin add a couple of little treats to make up for missing the movie. We got on line and the cashier was returning the debit card Terri had given me when Kevin whispered, “Carrie, it’s starting again.”

Fortunately it was only a couple of yards to the bathroom. Kevin bolted for it then stopped and hunched over. I got there a couple of seconds later. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes. “I didn’t make it,” he whispered.

“Oh, sweetie,” I said as I rubbed his back, “let’s get you cleaned up.” I led him over to the family restroom and told him to wait there until I got back.

The cashier who had taken care of us came over and said, “Is your little brother okay?”

I told her what happened. She gave me a kind little smile and said, “Why don’t you put your shopping cart over there and get what you need. I’ll ring you up separately in customer services so you don’t have to wait on line.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Where do you have the pullups?”
Part 8
As I walked over to the baby section, I took out my iphone and called Terri. When I filled her in on everything, she let out a puff of breath and said, “Sounds like pullups are a good idea until he gets through this. He won’t like it, but he won’t give you a fight. This has happened before but not since he was about 10. Get him the 4t/5t size. They actually fit him, I just stopped using them in favor of the goodnites because he thought the pull-ups were too babyish. I’ll call his doctor, he said to bring him right in if anything like this happens. If I send you the directions, can you meet me there?”

“Sure,” I said. "I’ll see you in a little bit.

I looked around for the design that would be least offensive to Kevin, and when I figured out that didn’t exist, I got the ones with Sully from Monsters Inc. I grabbed a package of wipes and then went over to boys’ wear and found a pair of gray gym shorts that I figured should fit him.

My friendly cashier was waiting for me at customer services. She asked what happened and when I told her she said, “I think I know the waitress you’re talking about. She wouldn’t do it on purpose, but she wouldn’t really care that she did it either.”

“Well,” I said, “her manager was ripping her a new one when I left.”

“Good, she deserves it. Has your brother started school, yet?”

I misunderstood her question and I said, “He’s starting at St. Albert’s in September.” St. Albert the Great is the name of the local Catholic Church and their school goes from kindergarten to high school.

“Oh great. My kids went there. Mrs. Fisher is the kindergarten teacher. He’ll love her.”

“Oh, super,” I said. But thought, “Wow, she thinks he’s not even a kindergartener yet. Kevin would not be happy.”

“Thanks for all your help, but I’d better go take care of Kevin.”

I knocked on the door and said, “It’s me, pal, let me in.” Kevin opened the door a crack and let me in. His tears had caused his tiger make-up to get all smeared and he just looked like a miserable little boy.

“I called your mom and she said we should go to your doctor after I get you cleaned up, Okay? Let’s get you out of that dirty stuff and into something clean, okay?” I realized I was the same tone to talk to him that I used when I was trying to coax one of my little nieces or nephews into doing something. Kevin didn’t seem to notice.

He just nodded his head.

“Okay,” I said, “Lets take off your shirt to keep it clean. Can you step out of your shoes?…good…now lets take off the shorts.” They were dirty but not too bad.

“Now the boxers.” They were a complete write-off. “Do you need to go anymore?”

He shook his head. “Okay, then. Let me clean you off.” I broke open the wipes and cleaned up his bottom and then did the front. He was just standing there sobbing quietly while I did it.

I tried soothing him, “You’re being very brave about this…No really, you are…” When he was clean, I opened up a pullup. When he saw this the tears really started up again. “I know, I know, but your mom and I think this is for the best until you’re better. Okay?”

He sucked in a breath and nodded his head again. “Good boy.” I said.

He stepped into the pullup and let me slide it up into place. He looked really miserable and his face was a mess. “Let’s get the makeup off, okay?”

He nodded again and I grabbed him under the arms and put him up on the changing counter. I was surprised how light he actually was. I had remembered I had some makeup removing wipes in my bag, so I dug into it to get them and I saw that the stuffed puppy I had brought the first day was still in there. I thought, “maybe this will help.”

I held up the puppy and made its right paw wave at Kevin and he smiled a little. “Okay, progress,” I thought. I gave Kevin the puppy and went to work on his face. I looked down and saw he was holding it to his to his chest, stroking it like it was a real puppy and I felt my heart give a little jump. I really was beginning to love this kid.

When he was all cleaned up, I rinsed off his shorts, tossed the boxers and got him dressed again. I cleaned up the counter a bit and put the damp shorts in the waterproof section of my bag so that they could be washed when we got home. Having a diaper bag paid off yet again.

I said to Kevin, “you ready to go?”

He just nodded again.

“Okay, let’s get our stuff and get going.”

The cashier, Agnes was waiting by the door and said, “I’ll help you bring your stuff to your car. You just take care of Kevin.”

“Thanks,” I said to Agnes. Then to Kevin, “You want to ride?”

He just looked at me, so I scooped him up and carried him on my hip out to the car. He cuddled the puppy the whole way.

After I thanked Agnes for being so helpful, she said, “Don’t worry sweetheart. I’ve had little boys with messy pants myself.”

Then she said to Kevin, “Don’t feel too bad about this, accidents happen. You’ll see, you’ll out grow this by the time you start big kid school.”

I smiled at her, put Kevin in the car, our stuff in the trunk and then headed off to the doctor.
Chapter 9
As we drove to Kevin’s doctor’s office, Kevin finally spoke up. “Carrie…this whole thing was pretty…uh…thanks for…you know…for being cool about the whole thing,” he whispered.

A bunch of responses ran through my mind. “Don’t worry, I’ve changed my brothers’ and sisters’ kids plenty of times.” or “No big deal, these things happen.” or “It’s okay, you don’t have anything I haven’t seen before.” But I settled on, “Hey, Kevin, that’s what friends are for.” I glanced over at Kevin and could tell he liked that answer.

The office was attached to the Doctor’s house, a pretty common thing in suburbs, but it confuses people from the city. When we pulled into the driveway, Terri was already there and came over to meet us. “Hi Kiddo,” she said, “had a rough day, huh?” Kevin just looked up at her and nodded his head.

“Come on, lets see Doctor Fisher.”

Terri led Kevin into the office and I followed up. It was empty except for the middle aged receptionist who looked up and waved “hi” to Kevin. Then she said, “bring him right into the exam room. The doctor will be there in a second.”

Kevin and Terri went back and I took a seat. Once they were inside the receptionist looked up and said, “Hi, you must be Carrie. I’m Beth. Terri told me what happened. Poor Kevin, he’s such a nice kid. I feel awful for him.”

“I know. We were having such a good time too before he got sick.”

“He’s a trooper though. He’ll be fine. So, Terri tells me you’re spending the summer with Kevin before you go to med school.”

“Uh, yeah,” I said.

“That is great! Hopkins, right? My husband went there. You’re gonna have a rough couple of years, but believe me it’s worth it.”

“Your husband?”

“Oh sorry, I’m Beth Fisher, the doctor’s my husband.”

“Oh cool.”

“Let me ask you something; Terri says she hired you through the Cassell agency. How do you like them? The reason I’m asking is Tom and I are thinking of doing a cruise next year and we were hoping to bring an au pair with us to help with the kids.”

“I liked them. I think they’ve treated me fairly, but they really put me through the wringer before they would let me go on an interview; references, school transcripts, background checks. the paperwork! Plus I had to get certified in all sorts of stuff, like cpr, adult, child and infant, then advanced first aid. They gave me a certificate that says I’m qualified as an assistant practical nurse, whatever that means.”

"Well that sounds good. I’ve heard good things about that agency from people who’ve hired through it, but I wanted to get the caregiver’s perspective.
“How do you like Kevin and Terri so far?”

“They’ve been great.”

“Kevin’s a little doll, isn’t he?”

“Well, yeah. I think he’s a real sweetheart. But he’s so small. The cashier at Target thought he was a pre-kindergartner.”

“That’s dopey. If I didn’t know how old he was I’d guess he was a well behaved 8-year old.”

“I thought so too. She was nice but seemed a little daft.”

“That’s a word you don’t hear much.” She laughed. “Wait, was this Agnes?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“Nice but daft, that’s her. We were in grade school together. She always got terrible grades. Her husband’s a great guy though and her kids are all really bright. But, how about you, how’d you decide on medicine.”

“Well, my mom and dad are both doctors. Mom’s a pediatrician and her office was set up kind of like this, attached to the house. It let her keep up her practice while my siblings and I were small. Dad’s a psychiatrist. Both of my older brothers are doctors, one of my sisters is too, but she put her practice on hold now that she’s got babies at home. So, you could say it’s in my blood.”

“You want to be a pediatrician?”

“Did Terri tell you?”

“No, you just seem really caring and I’ve noticed that girls like you who want to be doctors gravitate toward pediatrics.”

We were chatting like this when Beth’s phone buzzed. She picked it up and said, “Sure, I’ll ask her to go back.” Then to me she said, “Tom, 'scuse me, Doctor Fisher, would like you to join them in the exam room.” She chuckled, "he says I should refer to him as “Doctor Fisher in the office because it sounds more professional, then he tells all the kids to call him 'Tom.'Come on, I’ll bring you back”

She opened the door and we headed back. The hallway and the exam rooms, like the waiting room were brightly colored with pictures of scenes from nursery rhymes and fairy tales. It was all super cheery. She tapped on the door and a man’s voice called for us to come in.

As I entered, the sweet smell of baby powder almost overpowered me. Straight ahead of me was a stand up scale that looked like an antique and next to it was Terri seated in a straight back chair. There was a cabinet covered with drawers on top of which were jars and bottles of vaseline, baby oil, diaper rash ointment. Next to that was a little shelf unit with different sizes and styles of disposable diapers, everything from tiny ones for preemies to ones that might have fit a small adult. Standing between me and the exam table and really dominating the room was Doctor Fisher.

Doctor Fisher just looked like Santa Clause in a lab coat; long white beard, wire frame glasses, red open collared shirt, and suspenders covered with Disney characters. He greeted me with a big smile and said, “So, you’re the great and wonderful Carrie. Kevin has been telling me all about you.”

I extended my hand and said, “How do you do, Doctor Fisher”

He took my little hand in both his huge mitts and said, “I do great! I’m glad to meet you. But, please call me Tom or Doc Tom if you want to be formal, everyone does.”

I heard Beth snicker as she left the room. “What? What? Something’s wrong with that woman. Twenty years of marriage and four kids, and I still don’t understand her.”

He stepped over to shut the door and I could now see Kevin sitting on the exam table. He was wearing nothing but the pull up I dressed him in earlier. He looked so small and vulnerable. He was Irish pale with just a sprinkling of freckles across his shoulders. He gave me a shy smile and waved. I winked at him and waved back. He looked much less miserable, almost, but not quite cheerful. Doc Tom definitely had a way with children.

Tom said, “Terri tells me you’re going to be spending the summer with Kevin. So, I thought you should hear the instructions I’m giving directly from me. I trust Terri to pass this along to you, but sometimes it’s best for the person who is going to be looking after the patient to hear the instructions straight from the horses mouth. Plus, I never pass up an opportunity to meet a pretty girl.”

“Okay,” I said, “what’s up?”
Chapter 10
Doc Tom said, “Let me grab you a chair from the hall.”

“That’s okay,” I said and I hopped up on the exam table next to Kevin. I mussed up his hair and smiled at him. He smiled back. He was getting more like his old self.

“So, here’s the story. Kevin, I want you to take it easy for the rest of the day and for tomorrow. You don’t have to stay in bed, but just hang out at home. Watch some movies or something. When you get home I think you should try to eat something.”

“We were going to have Chinese,” Kevin said.

“Where are you getting it?” he asked.

“Ming Moon,” Terri said, “they have a gluten free menu.”

“Oh, yeah. I’ve gotten it from there too. It’s good stuff. Okay, keep it mild. Wanton soup would be fine. Maybe some steamed dumplings and noodle with chicken. Nothing fried. I want you to drink plenty of fluids. Terri,” he said, “get him some Pedialyte. He’s a little dehydrated from the diarrhea and it’s the best thing for that.”

“Sure thing,” Terri replied.

“Kevin, you’re probably not going to be thrilled about this, but I think you should wear the pullups until Sunday morning.”

“Why?” Kevin whined.

“What did you say you had before, about half a second’s warning? You don’t have to use them, but I think everyone will be happier if you don’t get caught short.”

Kevin sighed, “I guess.”

"Terri, you’re leaving when, Tuesday?

“That’s right.”

“Okay then, Carrie, you’ll need to bring Kevin back on Next Friday. Talk to Beth, she’ll set up a time. We’ll also have Terri and you sign some forms authorizing you to make medical decisions for Kevin.”

“Sure,” I replied.

“Now if everything goes back to normal by Sunday morning, there is no reason why you can’t do your gymnastics demonstration on Monday.”

“Oh, great!” Kevin said.

Doc Tom looked at me and said, “My oldest boy is at the same gymnastics school. He worships the ground Kevin walks on. Have you seen Kevin do his stuff? He’s awesome.”

“Yeah, I was there this morning. He was pretty incredible.”

I looked over and saw Kevin smile and start to blush a bit.

“So, Kevin, you get dressed. Lets the rest of us go and see Beth about making an appointment,” he said.

We left Kevin behind to get dressed as Tom walked us to the waiting room.

The waiting room was still empty and Tom said to Beth, “I’m not working you too hard am I?”

“It’s been crazy like this all day. I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath,” she replied rolling her eyes.

“Yeah right. Would you make an appointment for Kevin for Friday, oh joy of my life? Oh and could you get the medical consent forms and your seal for Terri to sign? Carrie will be in loco parentis while she’s out of the country. Beth is a notary, so we can make this all legal and official.”

“Of course I will, oh pain in my… So what time’s good for you? Friday afternoons in the summer as you can see are pretty quiet. We’d close shop, but Tom does Friday and Saturday on-call service for a Jewish friend and we take our days off midweek.”

“Earlier would be better than later,” I replied.

“Let’s say noon then.”

“Noon it is” as I entered the appointment into my iphone.

By now Kevin was out and ready to go.

“Bye, guys,” Tom said. “Will we see you in Church on Sunday?”

“We’ll be there. Tom, Beth, thanks for everything.” Terri responded.

We made our good-byes and headed out.

Terri said to me, “Would you mind swinging by the store to pick up the Pedialtye and then stopping off at Ming Moon, it’s down the road from Target and I’ll take Kevin home in my car?”

“No problem.” I responded.

“Great. I’ll call in the order so it will be ready for you to pick up.”

We went our separate ways. It took me longer to find Ming Moon than it should have. So, when I got back to the house, Kevin had already settled into the couch with his feet on the hassock and was watching TV. He was wearing a Captain America tee-shirt, the gym shorts I bought him, and a pair of slippers that looked like little moose heads, complete with antlers. I could just see the pull-up through the leg hole of his shorts.

“Cute slippers. Could you give me a hand with the groceries?” I asked.

“What’s it worth to you?” he replied as he hopped up and trotted through the kitchen door out to the attached garage.

The gym shorts were actually a little too big on him and they started to slip down as he reached into the trunk. I said, “Uh, Kevin, I see London, I see France, I see Kevin’s…” He stopped short and and pulled up his shorts and tightened the string.

He was blushing a little and said, “Yikes that could have been embarrassing if somebody saw me.”

“What, I’m not somebody?”

“You know what I mean. Somebody outside the family.”

I smiled to myself at that. “I’m family,” I thought. I liked that a lot.

We had dinner which was really pretty good, but I usually go for the spicier stuff. Both Terri and Kevin said they also go for the spicier stuff usually, but with what the doctor said, they kept it mild.

After we cleaned up. We watched DVDs of the first season of Walking Dead for a couple of episodes. Then Terri said, “Kevin, you probably should go to bed. The doctor said to take it easy tonight.”

He was about to protest, but said, “Yeah, I’m pretty tired. 'Night.” And like the previous night he kissed us both good night.

Terri said, “Need any help?”

“Nope, I’m good.”

“Stay in bed tomorrow until either Terri or I come to get you. Okay?”

He rolled his eyes and said, “Yes, Mommy.”

He went upstairs and a couple minutes later we heard the toilet flush, the sink run and then quiet.

Terri looked at me and said, “You, my dear, had a day from hell. Do you want a drink?”

“I wouldn’t mind a little white wine.” I replied.

“Pinot or Chardonnay?”

“Pinot, please.”

She got up and quickly returned with a nice bottle of wine, two glasses and some humus and chips. She jumped up on the couch and pulled her legs under her.

“Kevin told me everything you did for him. You were really kind. Thanks so much.”

“It’s okay.”

“No, really, not everyone would have been so nice. I’m glad we’ve got you for the summer.”

“Thanks, it wasn’t really all bad though. Did Kevin tell you about his face painting?”

“What? No. Tell me!” she laughed.

I told her about the bet as I got out my iphone and showed her the pictures I took. She was nearly hysterical looking at them.

“Could you send those to me? Especially the one with him growling? I might use that for blackmail and threaten him with putting it in the yearbook when he’s a senior.”

“Consider it done.” I said as I sent them to her.

“He is usually so concerned about seeming mature. It was nice to see him acting like a kid again. Maybe I’ll get some prints of those made.”

We talked for about two hours and finished off two bottles of wine. I found out about how her husband died, where they lived before coming to town, what she was doing in London.

Then, I said, “I think it’s time for me to go to bed.” We wished each other good night and I went to my room and changed into my running clothes for the morning. I opened the door to our shared bathroom and went in to brush my teeth. Kevin’s door was still open so I tip-toed over to shut it. In the glow of the nightlight, I saw Kevin asleep in bed with the bars up on both sides. He was facing the door and I saw he had a teddy bear and two stuffed puppies cuddled under his arm and his thumb in his mouth. I silently shut the door and went to bed myself.
Chapter 11

I got up early like I usually do and went for my run. It was misty out and the weather report said that it would start raining around 9 and rain through Sunday night. The weekend was a washout.

I got back to the house at about 8:00 and found Terri in the kitchen dressed for the office. She was finishing up a cup of coffee as I walked in. She said,“Good morning! How was your run?”

“Good,” I replied, “but it’s kind of gross out. Are you working today?”

She sighed, “I had a message from London on my phone when I woke up this morning. There is an “issue” (here she made air quotes) that needs to be taken care of immediately. I should be back by lunch time. I really hate working on Saturdays.”

“Well, at least you’re not missing out on a beach day.”

“No, I guess I won’t have too much chance later in the summer either. C’est la vie.”

Then I remembered last night and I told her about Kevin and the stuffed animals.

She smiled and chuckled. “I’ll bet they’ll be hidden when you wake him up.”

“Probably. I’ll knock before I go in and give him a minute or two to protect his dignity.”

“Well, I better get going. The sooner I’m there, the sooner I’m done. There are a bunch of board games in the family room and some DVD’s Kevin hasn’t seen yet and he’s got the video game so I think you’ll be able to keep him entertained. I should probably start pushing him to do his summer reading, but I think I’ll let him get a pass on that today. I’ll bring in lunch. If I’m going to be later than 1:00 I’ll call.”

“Bye. Oh, when do you think I should get Kevin up?”

“Give him until 10:00 and then rattle his cage.”

“Will do.”

After she left, I looked at the clock and figured I could give my mom a call. I got in the habit of calling her on Saturday mornings when I was in college. It was my subtle way of letting her know that I wasn’t out late drinking the night before.

She picked up on the second ring and said, “Good morning, Carrie, I hoped I’d hear from you today. How’s it going?”

“Hi Mom,” I said and filled her in on the details of yesterday.

“Poor kid,” she said, “it sounds like you handled it well though. How’s he this morning?”

“He’s still in bed, I’m letting him sleep until 10. He needs his rest, doctor’s orders.”

“Oooh, doctor’s orders. Better do it then,” she laughed.

When I was a little girl anytime my dad wanted to get me to do something I didn’t want to, his argument ender was “doctor’s orders.” “Eat your vegetables, doctor’s orders.” “Time for bed, doctor’s orders.” “Clean your room, doctor’s orders.” It became kind of a running joke in the family.

“What’s he like?” she asked.

“Kevin? I really like him. He kind of reminds me of Mikey when he was 8.”

“But he’s 15.”

“Yeah, he’s 15. If you talk to him and ignore the fact that his voice sounds like a little boy’s, you know you’re talking to a young man. But if you look at him, you want to ask him if he wants an ice cream. He seems just like a well behaved little kid.”

“What do you think of his mom?”

"She’s great too. She’s had a rough year. It sounds like her husband was a great guy and losing him really threw both of them for a loop. But she is adores

1 Like

Re: Summer Nurse

I like where this is going. Hoping for more. :slight_smile:

Re: Summer Nurse

I thought I had uploaded the whole text before. My mistake:

Chapter 11

I got up early like I usually do and went for my run. It was misty out and the weather report said that it would start raining around 9 and rain through Sunday night. The weekend was a washout.

I got back to the house at about 8:00 and found Terri in the kitchen dressed for the office. She was finishing up a cup of coffee as I walked in. She said,“Good morning! How was your run?”

“Good,” I replied, “but it’s kind of gross out. Are you working today?”

She sighed, “I had a message from London on my phone when I woke up this morning. There is an “issue” (here she made air quotes) that needs to be taken care of immediately. I should be back by lunch time. I really hate working on Saturdays.”

“Well, at least you’re not missing out on a beach day.”

“No, I guess I won’t have too much chance later in the summer either. C’est la vie.”

Then I remembered last night and I told her about Kevin and the stuffed animals.

She smiled and chuckled. “I’ll bet they’ll be hidden when you wake him up.”

“Probably. I’ll knock before I go in and give him a minute or two to protect his dignity.”

“Well, I better get going. The sooner I’m there, the sooner I’m done. There are a bunch of board games in the family room and some DVD’s Kevin hasn’t seen yet and he’s got the video game so I think you’ll be able to keep him entertained. I should probably start pushing him to do his summer reading, but I think I’ll let him get a pass on that today. I’ll bring in lunch. If I’m going to be later than 1:00 I’ll call.”

“Bye. Oh, when do you think I should get Kevin up?”

“Give him until 10:00 and then rattle his cage.”

“Will do.”

After she left, I looked at the clock and figured I could give my mom a call. I got in the habit of calling her on Saturday mornings when I was in college. It was my subtle way of letting her know that I wasn’t out late drinking the night before.

She picked up on the second ring and said, “Good morning, Carrie, I hoped I’d hear from you today. How’s it going?”

“Hi Mom,” I said and filled her in on the details of yesterday.

“Poor kid,” she said, “it sounds like you handled it well though. How’s he this morning?”

“He’s still in bed, I’m letting him sleep until 10. He needs his rest, doctor’s orders.”

“Oooh, doctor’s orders. Better do it then,” she laughed.

When I was a little girl anytime my dad wanted to get me to do something I didn’t want to, his argument ender was “doctor’s orders.” “Eat your vegetables, doctor’s orders.” “Time for bed, doctor’s orders.” “Clean your room, doctor’s orders.” It became kind of a running joke in the family.

“What’s he like?” she asked.

“Kevin? I really like him. He kind of reminds me of Mikey when he was 8.”

“But he’s 15.”

“Yeah, he’s 15. If you talk to him and ignore the fact that his voice sounds like a little boy’s, you know you’re talking to a young man. But if you look at him, you want to ask him if he wants an ice cream. He seems just like a well behaved little kid.”

“What do you think of his mom?”

“She’s great too. She’s had a rough year. It sounds like her husband was a great guy and losing him really threw both of them for a loop. But she is adores her son and he adores her.”

“I don’t want to think about what that’s like. Thank God they’ve got each other. Oh, what about next week at the Cape? She said she was okay with it, but it was up to the boy. Are you guys in?”

“Absolutely. I think a change of scenery would be good for Kevin. He was a bit reluctant, but I told him we’d be able to keep his secret for him.”

“Great! He’ll have plenty of kids his own age, both chronological and apparent, to hang around with too. Everybody is coming. It’s going to be great.”

“I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t seen the Tara’s boys since the christening and they’re almost three now.”

We chatted for a while and I got the updates on what my siblings and their offspring were up to, what dad was doing, what people mom thought I knew but didn’t were doing and so on. Then I realized the time and said, “I’ve got to wake up Kevin. I’ll give you a call when we’re on the road of Saturday morning, Okay?”

“That’s fine dear. God bless you and I love you.”

“I love you too, mom. See you next week.”

I hung up and went to the kitchen and took a bottle of Pedialyte out of the fridge then went upstairs to wake Kevin. I knocked on the door and said, “Kevin, are you decent? It’s time to wake up.” I heard some movement and when it stopped I went in. The bars were still up on the bed, but the stuffed animals were nowhere to be seen, although there was a suspicious bump at the foot of the bed.

I walked over to the bed, brushed my hand over his forehead and said, “How’s the patient this morning?”

“Fine,” he said. I remembered he’s not real talkative in the morning.

“Great!” I said, deciding to be annoyingly cheerful.

I handed him the bottle of Pedialyte and said, “Drink this, you still need to replenish your fluids and then get cleaned up. I’ll have breakfast ready for you when you come down.”

Then, a little more gently, I asked, “Are you wet?”

He nodded his head.


He shook his head. “Well that’s a good sign, I think.” I said.

“I’m feeling better a lot better,” he said.

“Okay then, I’ll leave you too it. Don’t be too long or your oatmeal will turn to cement.”

About 10 minutes later he came down in pretty much the same outfit he had on yesterday and plopped himself down at the breakfast counter.

“Juice?” I asked.

“Yes, please.”

“Do you drink coffee?”

“Only Starbuck’s Frappacinos.”

I gave him his oatmeal and a glass of juice and sat down next to him with my coffee.

“Where’s mom?” he asked.

“She was called into the office. She thinks she’ll be back by one.”

“Oh, okay.”

When he was done eating he got up to help me clean up and I noticed his shorts looked, well normal actually. So I asked, “Do you have a pullup on?”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes, you heard what the doctor said. I’ll help you clean up if you’re sick, but if you’re just being stubborn, I won’t be happy about it.”

“Fine!” he said exasperated.

He came back down a few minutes later and came over to me on the couch where I was reading the paper. “Sorry about the attitude.” he said.

“You’re forgiven. I know this sucks for you, but we’ll get through it.”

He drooped down next to me and said, “so what are we going to do today?”

“Well, we could make popcorn and tell ghost stories, and paint each others toe nails. Or we could play Call of Duty.”

“Hmmm, tough choice. How about Call of Duty? Can we make popcorn too though?”

Chapter 12
About a half hour into our “Call of Duty” mission, Kevin’s eyes widened and he said, “Uh, oh,” and he jumped up and ran for the stair. He got about halfway up when he stopped bent over and sobbed, “Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!”

I was on my feet right away and got over to him. I rubbed his back and said, “Come on, let’s take care of this.”

He took my hand and I led him upstairs. We went into the bathroom and I helped him out of his shirt and shorts. I pulled the sides of the pullup apart and shook its contents into the toilet. I got a couple of wipes out and cleaned him up a bit. Then I said, “why don’t you hop into the shower real quick? It’ll clean you better than the wipes can.” I put the pullup in the diaper genie that was under the sink and said, “Come down when you’re ready. Call me if you need any help.”

" 'kay," he said.

I was sitting on the couch when he came down. I could tell he had a pullup on this time. He dropped down next to me and said “Thanks. This can’t be fun for you.”

“Don’t sweat it,” I said, “for you kiddo, the world.” But I was thinking, “Fun, no, not fun exactly. But I kind of feel like I’m playing house and I’m the mommy and he’s the baby.” But that was something I’d never say.

“This is so embarrassing,” he sighed.

“Look, if you were nauseous and vomiting, I’d put a garbage pail next to you and help you clean up and that wouldn’t be embarrassing. Would it?”

“No, not really.”

“You’re problems at the other end and you’re to big for a potty chair in the living room, so this is the best solution. There is nothing to be embarrasses about.”

“I guess not,” he grinned.

“Now, duty calls, back to Call of Duty.”

He rolled his eyes, picked up his controller and slide down onto the floor so that his back was against the couch. Then I said, “Ooh, hang on a minute. Hydration.” I got up and zipped into the the fridge and came back with another bottle of Pedialyte for him. “Drink up, my man,” I said.

I handed him the bottle. I hadn’t really looked that closely at them when I bought them, I just grabbed a variety back, but now I noticed that the bottle was like a little sports bottle. He broke the seal, pulled up the stopper and began sucking on it. All I could think was that he looked like a toddler with a baby bottle. I grinned a little and he noticed.

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing, I’m just going to kick your butt. Now move over.” I slid down next to him on the floor and we started up the game again.

The rest of the morning was uneventful and fun. At about 12:30, Terri came in carrying a pizza box and called out “I’m home.”

She saw us in front of the TV and said, “I don’t have to ask what you two have been doing.” I stood up to help her with her stuff

Kevin said, “Call of Duty, Mom. Carrie is really good at it too… for a girl.”

I picked up a pillow from the couch and threw it at him laughing.

“Come on, before the pizza gets cold. Ever have gluten-free pizza, Carrie?”

“No.” I said

“It’s almost like real food. At least this place uses real cheese and has a good sauce.”

“Be right in,” Kevin said and he trotted up the stairs to the bathroom.

When I got into the kitchen, Terri leaned over to me and whispered, “How’s it going so far?”

“One messy accident about two hours ago. But he’s been fine since then,” I whispered back.

“I know you’re talking about me and I know what you’re talking about. I messed my pullup before but I just pooped and it was normal. Now can we stop talking about my potty issues?” Kevin said as he walked into the room.

Terri and I looked at each other shrugged at the same time and started laughing.

Chapter 13
The pizza was actually okay, but the crust was like card board. The cheese and the sauce saved it. When we were done eating, the three of us settled in front of the TV. Terri wasn’t interested in Call of Duty, so she dug into her bag and brought out a DVD of Despicable Me, which none of us had seen. "I picked this up on the way home. I heard it was funny.

It was really funny and we all enjoyed ourselves. When it was over Kevin said, “That was fun. Those minions were hilarious.”

“They were pretty cute, weren’t they?” I agreed.

Terri said, “Kevin, I think it might be a good idea for you to take a little nap this afternoon. You had a rough day yesterday and you still look kind of tired to me.”

He was about to argue but I could see his mother looked serious and he said, “I guess so. Can I just stay down here or do I have to go to my room?”

“Down here is fine. You can sleep on my yoga mat and I’ll get you an afghan,” she replied.

She got him all set and tucked him in. “Now I don’t want to hear a peep out of you for an hour. Understand?”

“Yes, Mommy,” he said sarcastically. She gave him a kiss on his forehead and we shut off the light and retreated to the dining room. Just as we shut the door, Kevin said, “Peep. Peep. Peep.”

“Wise ass,” Terri whispered smiling.

We sat down at the table and talked for a bit.

I said to her, “You seem pretty settled into town. I thought you only moved here a couple of weeks ago.”

“We did, but Jim and I grew up here in town and lived here until Kevin was about three. He doesn’t remember any of that of course. But we used to come back here all the time any way. Our place in the city was only an hour from here so we kept our doctors and dentists and the gymnastics studio is about the best around so Kevin was enrolled there. A couple of months after Jim died I was offered a promotion with the choice of offices to head up, including the one here in town. I always liked it here, so it seemed like a natural choice to move back.”

“Oh, I see. You said Kevin doesn’t really have too many friends here yet.”

“Apart from the kids at gymnastics, he doesn’t really know anybody. Not peers anyway. Most of those kids are a good bit younger then Kevin. All though you couldn’t tell it by looking. I think there are a couple of girls in church who’ve taken a shine to him, but I’m not sure if they don’t see him as something like a mascot or a pet. I’m really hoping once school starts he’ll get involved and make some good friends. He’s seemed lonely since his dad died.”

I noticed that a tear was forming, but she wiped it away. Anyway, she said, “I’d better see about dinner. Could you give me a hand?”

“I’d be glad to.” I said and rubbed her back.

The rest of the evening was uneventful. Kevin’s problem seemed to have run its course.

We sent Kevin to bed at 11:00. “We’re going to the 10:30 family Mass tomorrow,” Terri told Kevin, “I want you ready to go by 10:00. That means showered and dressed neatly, by 10:00, with your hair combed neatly and not just pulling yourself out of bed at 9:59.”

One of the reasons I was attracted to this particular job was that Terri had made it clear on her information sheet that she and Kevin were regular church going Catholics. I am too so, it was agreed that I’d be taking Kevin to the family Mass every Sunday that I was looking after him. Tomorrow we’d be going as “a family” and I was going to meet the other families at church.

“Yes, Mother,” he said. “Good night, Mother. Good night, Cousin Carrie.” He said as he walked over and gave each of us a kiss on the cheek and he was off to bed.

Chapter 14
The next morning, I returned from jogging to see Kevin already up. He was lying on the floor in front of the TV watching some cartoon on the Disney Channel. He was wearing a tee-shirt and what I guessed was a dry Goodnite.

“You’re up early,” I said. It was only about 8:30.

“I guess,” he replied.

“Uhm, are you still in your Goodnites?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said, “Don’t worry, it’s dry. I don’t wet every night. I figured I watch some TV and change after I had my shower.”

“Ok,” I said. I was thinking, "he’s very comfortable with me now. It’s a bit different from a the other morning when he was crying after I saw him in the Goodnite.

I got some juice and then went up to have my shower. I was finishing up getting dressed for church when I heard Kevin go in for his shower.

I was sitting at the breakfast counter having a yogurt and coffee when he came down ready for church. He was wearing a pink oxford shirt, neatly pressed tan cargo shorts, and the boat shoes he had on the other day. His hair, as ordered was combed neatly. He plopped down next to me and said, “will you come to my gymnastics exhibition tomorrow?”

“Wouldn’t miss it!” I responded.

His face lit up in a huge smile.

“Great!” he said. “What do you want to do after church?”

“Your mom said we’d go out for a nice big brunch. But, after that I’m game for anything you want to do.”

“Could we go back and see the movie, that was, uhm, interrupted the other day.”

“Sounds good to me,” I said.

At 10:00, as Terri promised, we were on our way to St. Albert’s Church for the family mass.

When we got to the church, two teenage girls, both very pretty, were standing by the door giving out song books. When they saw Kevin, their faces lit up.
“Hey Kevin,” one of them said.

“Hi, Ashley,” he responded a bit shyly.

“Hi, Mrs. O’Neil” the other said.

“Good morning girls.” Terri replied and then saw a friend and said, “Carrie, I’ll be right back.”

“Kevin,” Ashley said, “aren’t you going to introduce us?”

“Huh, oh yeah right. Ashley, Heather this is my cousin Carrie. She’s staying with us this summer. Carrie, these are Ashley and Heather Dunn.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” I said.

“Same here,” Ashley said, “I’m glad you’re his cousin, I was afraid Kevin had a girlfriend that I didn’t know about.”

Kevin was blushing now, but smiling too.

“We’d better find our seats,” I said, “Will we see you girls in the church hall after mass?”

“You bet,” Heather said.

When we were seated with Terri, she leaned over and whispered to me, “Those are the girls I told you about.”

“They seemed nice enough,” I said.

“Oh they are, and their parents are very nice too. I think Kevin has a crush on Ashley but I think she sees him as a cute little kid. I’m afraid he’s going to be hurt.”

“Do they know how old he is?” I asked.

“Yes, but, I don’t know, maybe I’m being over protective.”

“Maybe.” I said with a giggle. Terri giggled too and said, “I’m glad you understand.”

Mass was normal and afterwards we went to the church hall for donuts and coffee. “Remember we’re going to have brunch after this, so don’t eat too much,” Terri said. I saw they had a table off to one side with about a half dozen gluten free donuts, and Kevin headed over there.

Doctor Fisher was walking around talking to some families. Three little boys were following him around while his wife was sitting against the wall pushing a stroller with a beautiful little girl in it back and forth. One of the little boys, Arthur, I later found out, saw Kevin and ran over to him and gave him a hug. Kevin smiled at him and listened as the boy animatedly told him some story that I couldn’t here.

The Doctor eventually walked over and shooed his son off and chatted with Kevin for a bit. He gave Kevin a “high five” and Kevin ran over to his mom and me. “Doc Tom said I was good to go for tomorrow’s exhibition!”

We talked to a few more people and then made our way to the exit and to brunch. Kevin was talking a mile a minute about what he was going to do in the exhibition. He didn’t stop until we went into the theater and saw the movie that had been so cruelly cut short.

Chapter 15
Monday was pretty mellow for most of the day. Kevin had ridden his bike over to the gymnastics studio to work out a bit in the morning and Terri was finishing her packing.

“It doesn’t look like you’re taking all that much with you for a two month stay.” I commented.

“Well, I shipped almost all of my business clothes and my formal outfits over early. I could probably get by with an overnight back. But, I always overpack. My husband used to say, 'remember they do have shops,” Terri replied with a grin. “Kevin is the opposite. He always forgets to pack something.”

We chatted away for the morning and then Kevin came in right around lunch time. He and Terri had decided to have a final lunch together, just the two of them before she left. Terri asked if I minded and I told her of course not. They said they’d come back and pick me up so that we’d all go to the gymnastics exhibition together. We’d have dinner together afterwards.

At about 4:30, they picked me up. We loaded into Terri’s Mercedes minivan and were off. Kevin was in high spirits and Terri looked a little sad. When we got to the studio and Terri and I were heading to the bleachers, I asked her “What’s the matter?”

She teared up and said, “I feel bad leaving Kevin. We have never been apart for this long before. I know he’s a teenager, but he’s still my little boy.”

“I know, but, it’s not like you’re going to be cut off from him. We’ll do Skype everyday like we promised.”

“I’m just a little silly, I guess.”

“No,no, you’re not,” I comforted, “but Kevin will be fine. I promise.”

She gave me a little hug on and said, “I know.”

The exhibition began with the smallest girls, toddlers really, doing some little somersaults. They all had on matching pink leotards, you could see the bulge of diapers on a couple of them. Older girls were helping them do their routines. It was really cute. Then came the smallest boys in tank top shirts and gym shorts, they did a similar routine and some older boys, including Kevin were helping them. It went back and forth like that with older children performing more complicated routines.

There was an intermission between the intermediate kids and the advanced group and I got up and mingled with some of the other spectators. Doc Tom and Beth were there with their two youngest children. Arthur and Martin had performed in the earlier groups. Terri and I chatted with them for a bit.

Kevin was the first up in the advanced group. He looked so young standing on the middle of the mat all by himself. Then he began his routine and the crowd was silent in amazement. He really was good. His coach had seated himself next to Terri and said to us, “if this were a competition, he’d probably get an 8 or a 9 for the routine.” Everything was going well until Kevin did one of his back flips and came down kind of funny. He stumbled and fell to the ground, but then didn’t get up right away.

Everyone watched as Doc Tom ran down to the mat with Terri and me close behind. Kevin was rolling in pain with tears running down his face. Terri was rubbing his back trying to calm him. Tom took out his cell phone and called for an ambulance. In a matter of minutes an ambulance was there to take Kevin to the ER at the local hospital.

“Carrie,” Terri said, “I’ll ride with Kevin in the ambulance. Could you meet us there with the car?”

“Of course,” I said.

Tom said, “I’ll ride in the ambulance, too. We’ve got a good ER, but things move faster if you have a doctor with you.”

The medics put Kevin on a gurney and took him out to the ambulance. Everyone gave him a standing ovation, which was nice, but I don’t think he noticed.

As I was driving to the hospital, I realized I had forgotten to collect Kevin’s things from the locker room. When I got there, Terri was in the waiting room.

“Tom was right,” she said, “he got Kevin in right away. They have an orthopedist looking at him now.”

“Well that’s good,” I said, “did Tom think it was broken?”

“No, he thought it was probably just a bad sprain. But it looked so painful, didn’t it?”

“Yeah, it really did. How’d Kevin do in the ambulance?”

Terri sighed, “He was crying a bit, but fighting to be brave. I think the fall must have startled him, he was wet when they got him here. So, after the nurses cut off his gym outfit, they put a diaper on him. I don’t think they realized how old he was.”

“Oh,” I said, “How’d he take that?”

“I think he was in too much pain to care about what he was wearing. He won’t be happy when he calms down though.”

They had a coffee maker in the waiting room, so Terri and I sat there waiting, drinking coffee and chatting for about an hour. Then Tom came out to see us.

“Well,” he said, “it’s not broken. Just a bad sprain like I said. Both ankles though and when he fell over, he did a job on his wrist.”

“Are they admitting him?” Terri asked.

“No. They’ll let him go home with you guys tonight. The orthopedist is with him, I’ll bring you back.”

Tom brought us to one of pediatric exam rooms off of the ER. Kevin was sitting up in bed looking miserable with bandages on both ankles on on his right wrist. All that he was wearing was a hospital gown and a pamper. When we came in, he began trying to pull the gown down further to hide the diaper. Terri went over and kissed him and rubbed his back. I gave him a kiss on the forehead too and said, “how’s it goin’ kiddo?”

Tom said, “Terri, Carrie, this is Doctor Weiss. Jim this is Kevin’s mom Terri and his guardian for the summer Carrie.”

“It’s nice to meet you both,” Doctor Weiss said.

“Likewise,” we said almost in unison.

“Kevin had two nasty sprains in his ankles and his right wrist is going to be out of commission for a while. Normally, I’d set him up with crutches, but that wrist makes that impossible.”

“How long will he be laid up?” I asked.

“I’d say about 10 days.”

Kevin looked up and said, “TEN DAYS!!!”

“Well, if things improve we might be able to go with seven,” Doctor Weiss said.

“I don’t want to stay in a whole week,” Kevin whined.

“We’ll see what we can do about that, maybe we can get you a wheelchair. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it?”

“I guess,” he said.

“Now, I’d like to see Kevin next Monday, okay?” Doctor Weiss said.

Terri said, “Oh, Kevin and Carrie were planning on going to Cape Cod for a family reunion on Saturday.”

“Well, I don’t have to be the doctor to check him out, maybe there’s someone on the Cape I could have look at him.” the Doctor said.

“My brother’s an orthopedic surgeon.” I said.

“What’s his name?”

“Aidan Sullivan. He works up in Boston.”

“Boston General?”

“Yes, do you know him?”

“Only by reputation. You’ll be in good hands if he looks after you Kevin. Let me have his number and I’ll fill him in.”

“Well that’s a relief,” said Terri. “Now what else do we have to do?”

Doctor Weiss and Doc Tom filled us in.

An orderly came to help us wheel Kevin down to the parking area. He was still dressed just in the gown and the diaper because we didn’t have anything else for him to wear. He was trying to hide the diaper by pulling on the gown, but it wasn’t working.

“Leave it alone, Kevin,” Terri said. “Nobody cares and all you’re doing is drawing attention to it.” This was true. Some other people, adults and children were watching Kevin go by and a little girl giggled a bit and Kevin began biting on his lip blushing.

While Terri and the orderly were loading Kevin in the car, I stopped by the dispensary with a note to pick up a pediatric wheelchair for a child under 100 pounds. It was in a flat box that I carried out to the car and put in the back of the minivan. The orderly had put a loaner booster seat in the back for Kevin because he said it was required for a child his size. Kevin grumbled about this but wanted to get home so he didn’t make too much of a fuss.

We got Kevin home and I helped Terri bring him in. Carrying him up to bed was no problem. He wanted to take of the diaper but Terri said, “Let’s leave it as it is.”

Kevin started to kick up a fuss. “Don’t be silly. I’m not going to take off a dry diaper to put on a goodnite.”

I think he had had such a rotten evening he was going into melt down and started to sob. Terri began comforting him and he started calming down. I walked over to the dresser and got his teddy bear and brought it to him. He looked up gratefully and pulled it to his chest. When he was calmed down enough that he had fallen asleep, we each gave him a kiss good night turned off the lights and softly closed the door. As I glanced over, I noticed he had slipped his thumb between his lips and was softly sucking it.

Chapter 16
Terri and I went downstairs and sat in the living room with another bottle of her nice Pinot.

“What a day!” Terri said, exasperated.

“Yep.” I replied.

“Do you think I should put off leaving?”

“It’s your call, of course, but I don’t see any need to. It’s just sprains. And I can help Kevin with getting around and everything else.”

“I guess. Yeah, it would be a mess if I delayed things. I just feel like I’m abandoning him.”

“Oh, you aren’t. I don’t think he’ll see it like that either. Despite everything, he’s a pretty mature kid.”

“He is, isn’t he. And he likes you and trusts you. When we were having lunch he told me that he’s really comfortable with you. He said that if he had a big sister, he’d want her to be just like you.”

“That’s sweet,” I replied.

“He always wanted to have brothers and sisters. I wanted to have other children too, but we couldn’t get pregnant for the longest time. Then, Kevin came along, just when I had almost given up hope. He means the world to me. I guess that’s why I’m a bit over protective.”

“You don’t really seem that way to me,” I said, “Kevin’s pretty self-reliant.”

“He is because I know I have to let him be, but in my heart, I still see him as my little boy and want to hold him whenever things get too tough for him. But, that would be cruel in the long run. He’d never grow up. So, I don’t interfere nearly as much as I’d like to,” she said with a sad smile.

“He’ll be fine. We’ll be fine,” I answered.

“Sure.” she said.

I went to bed shortly after that and Terri was still sitting in the living room thinking.

The next morning, I went for my usual run and when I back, there was a note on the door to my room asking me to come in to see Terri and Kevin after I had my shower. So, I showered and dressed and went in to Kevin’s room. He was sitting up in bed wearing the same outfit he had on when we put him to bed even though it was clear from the tray of food on the table next to the bed, that he had been up for a while.

“Good morning,” I said.

“Hi Carrie,” Terri said, “Kevin and I have been talking. We’ve agreed that I’m going to leave today as planned.” She glanced at Kevin and he nodded.

“Sure,” I replied.

“Kevin and I have also agreed that he’ll still go with you to the Cape on Saturday.” Again a glance and a nod, this time with a smile from Kevin.


“Here’s where it gets a bit more complicated. Kevin has agreed not to make a fuss about this, right Kevin?” He nodded a bit sheepishly. “Kevin can’t walk or really even stand on his own for at least a week. In a lot of ways, he is going to be completely dependent on you…you know, to get to the toilet, to get dressed and cleaned and all that. Are you going to be okay with that?”

“Of course.” I replied.

“Good,” she said. " Kevin’s diaper is wet. He needs help getting out of it and into the bath and then getting dressed. Could take charge now?"

I nodded and smiled. This was going to be an interesting week.

Chapter 17.

Terri picked up the tray and left the room. I looked over at Kevin and said, “You ready to do this?”

He nodded and whispered, “Yes, please.”

I smiled as gently as I could and said, “Let’s start with the bandages. We shouldn’t get them wet…Okay, how about we take off the top…” and then when he was wearing nothing but the diaper, “good…now put your arm around my neck.” Kevin was very docile and let me take care of everything. When his arm was around my neck, I slipped my hands under him and picked him up, supporting him under the knees and across his back. I was once again surprised at how light he was.

“Let’s go into the bathroom for the rest of this,” I said as I carried him across his room. We got into the bathroom and I set him on the vanity. The diaper made a little “squish” sound as I put him down.

“How’s that diaper feel?” I asked.

He looked up and said, “Actually, not too bad. It’s a bit more comfortable than the Goodnites.”

“Interesting,” I thought but said, “be right back.”

I stepped into my room and got the changing pad out of my hand bag/ diaper bag. “This is a first,” I thought.

I put it down on the floor of the bathroom and said, “I think it will be easier and more comfortable if I take the diaper of you down here on the floor.”

“'kay” he said.

Before I put him down on the mat, I turned on the bath and felt the temperature. Nice and warm, I thought. Then I looked around a bit and found some of Terri’s bubble bath. She had mentioned that she liked to relax in a hot bath on some evenings. I poured a little in, and Kevin said, “What’s that for?!? I don’t take bubble baths.”

“Easy pal,” I said, “I thought that some bubbles might help you preserve your privacy a bit. Besides, when was the last time you took any kind of a bath?”

“It’s been a while. I guess not since like first grade, after that mom let me take showers.”


“I think mom used to give me bubble baths before that,” he conceded with a chuckle.

“So, no more arguments?”

“No more arguments.”

I opened up the sides of his diaper and said, “Let’s go, put your hand around my neck again.” Then I picked him up and lowered him into the tub.

“How’s that feel?” I asked.

“Comfy” he replied. “Like the baby bear said, it’s just right.”

“Do you need help washing?” I asked.

“I think I can manage, but could you help me with my hair. I don’t think I’ve ever done this like this before.”

“Sure thing,” I said.

I grabbed a water pitcher from under the sink and then put down the lid on the toilet and had a seat while he washed himself.

After a couple of minutes, I said, “Ready for the shampoo?”

He nodded and said, “yes, please.”

I filled the pitcher with warm water from the sink and went over to the tub and poured it gently over his head. “What shampoo do you use?” I asked.

“The baby shampoo in the cabinet over there.”

“Okay,” I said as I opened the cabinet and then began massaging the shampoo into his hair. “Close your eyes” I said and poured a pitcher of clear, warm water over his head.

“That feels nice.” he said. We finished up and I drained the tub.

I took one of the really, nice fluffy white towels that Terri had stocked the bathroom with and opened it up on the floor. I told Kevin to put his arm around my neck again and I lifted him from the tub and placed him on the towel. I got another towel and began drying him. Then I wrapped him up and carried him into his bed room to get him dressed.

When he was fully dried and seated on his bed still wrapped in the towel, I said, “What do you want to wear?”

“Shorts and a polo, please,” he said.

“You’re very polite,” I complimented him with a smile. “Where are they?”

“Shorts are in the second drawer down on the dresser and the polos are in the closet.”


“Nah, I trust you.”

“Okay, where’s your undies?”

“Undies? Really? …Top drawer.”

“Do you wear undershirts?”

“Not in the summer.”

I got his clothes together; the plaid cargo shorts from the day of the INCIDENT at the movies, a light red (he wouldn’t let me call it pink) polo shirt, and a pair of Mickey Mouse themed boxers. “These are cute,” I commented and Kevin rolled his eyes.

I took the towel off him and said, “I think the easiest way for us to do this is for you to lie back with your feet off the bed.” He did and I gently fed the boxers over his ankles and up to his thighs. Then I said, “Put both arms around my neck.” I stood up straight and he kind of dangled from my neck. I slipped my left hand behind his bottom to support him and slid the boxers into place. We repeated the process with the cargo shorts.

“We’ll need to find an easier way to do this,” I said.

“Stick 'em up!” I said and pointed my finger at him like a gun.

Kevin rolled his eyes but smiled as he raised his hands so that I could slip the shirt over his arms and down his torso. Then I re-wrapped his wrist and ankles.

“Now, lets see what we can do with your hair.” I got a comb and started straightening the mess that sat above his ears. “I think you need a hair cut.”

“Mom said I should get one on Friday,” he said.

“Sure, we can do that.”

So, now that he was neatly dressed and his hair freshly coiffed I said, “Let’s go see your mom,” as I popped him on my hip and carried him down the stairs.

Re: Summer Nurse

Chapter 18
Terri was in the kitchen when we got downstairs. She was just taking a pot of coffee out of the maker when I put Kevin on one of the stools at the breakfast counter. “Would you like some coffee, Carrie?” she offered.

“Please.” I said.

“Some juice, Kevin?”

“Yes, please.” he responded.

When we were all seated with beverages, Terri started, “The car service is coming for me in about a half an hour. I need to swing by my office to pick up some documents before I go to the airport.”

“Okay.” I said. Kevin just nodded.

“I’ll give you guys a call when I’m about to get on the plane, and I’ll call again tomorrow at about noon. I think that’s like 5:00 London time. I should be settled in by then.”

“Sounds good,” I said. Kevin nodded, but I could see he was fighting back tears.

So could Terri. She got up and went over to Kevin and stood behind his chair and wrapped her arms around his shoulders and rested her chin on the top of his head. “I know this is tough for you, darling,” she said. “It’s tough for me too. But, I’ve got to go. Please…don’t make this harder.” She started to choke up on the last words.

“I’m sorry, mommy…I’m going to miss you.” Kevin nearly whispered and then began to sob.

“Oh, Kevin.” His mother whispered and then broke into tears also. She came around to the front of him and the two of them held each other in silence for a couple of minutes. I looked away to give them some privacy.

Then Terri said, “Okay?” as she released him.

“Okay,” Kevin replied wiping his eyes with the palms of his hands.

Almost immediately the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” I said.

It was the driver from the car service. “I know I’m a bit early, please tell Mrs. O’Neil I’m here. No rush, whenever she’s ready.”

“Carrie, could you help me bring my bags out?” Terri asked.

“Sure,” I responded.

I picked up one of her bags and she grabbed the other. “Be right back, Kevin,” she said.

When we approached the car, the driver said, “Mrs. O, I would have gotten that for you.”

“It’s no problem, Sam. I needed a minute alone with Carrie here.”

"Carrie, this has been a really tough year for Kevin and the last couple days…"she trailed off.

“I know.”

“Since my husband died, Kevin and I have been going to a family counselor, to help us through things. He’s good at hiding it, but he’s been feeling an awful lot of stress lately.”


“I was talking to her about everything and she thinks that Kevin might benefit from a bit of a vacation from being a big kid.”

“I’m not following you.”

“Baby him a little.”

“Excuse me.”

“For the next week, at least, he’s going to be almost totally dependent on you…” She and I discussed some plans for helping Kevin.

“He won’t fight you,” she said. “I discussed it with him and he’s not sure about it, but he’s willing to give it a try.”

“Okay,” I said, wondering what I had gotten myself into.

“Sam, I’ll be right back.” Terri said to the driver and went into the house. I could see through the door that she and Kevin were hugging. When they broke the embrace, she kissed him on the cheek and then again on the forehead and then walked to the car wiping away tears.

“Talk to you soon,” she said to me.

“Have a safe trip.” I said in reply. I waited for her to drive away then went into the house and closed the door behind me.

Chapter 19
Kevin was sitting on the couch, staring at the floor and looking miserable.

“Hey! Kevin,” I said as cheerfully as I could manage.


“Are you planning on moping around the house all day?”

“Maybe. Are you planning on being annoying cheerful all day?”

“Maybe…Let’s make a deal. You can mope for another half hour, but after that there will be no more mopery. Understood?”

“Yeah, okay,” he said.

“Okay. I’ll let you wallow in self pity for a while. Let me know when you get bored with it. But, one way or another, it ends in 30 minutes.”


I went upstairs and took care of a few things in my room and then 29 minutes later I came down to see Kevin, just as I left him. I began a count down. “Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One.” and then I jumped on the couch next to him and began tickling him. I suspected he was ticklish from the times I had changed him and, boy, I was right. I couldn’t go crazy, because of his injuries, but I had him laughing and wiping tears away from his face in about half a minute.

“Done with the moping?” I asked.

“Yeah…thanks.” He said after he caught his breath. “So what now?” he asked.

“Well,…hmm…let me think we could play a game.”

“Call of Duty?”

“We did that the other day. I feel like something less violent.”

“Clue? It’s about a murder, but you know.”

“What the board game? I haven’t played that in years. Do you want to?”

“Well,…yeah,…kind of. It was my favorite game when I was little and I haven’t played it in years. My friends all thought it was for babies. Since it’s just the two of us…”

“I’d love to play Clue.” I said. “Where is it?”

Kevin pointed to the cabinet below the Blu-ray player. I opened it up and there was a stack of about a dozen classic board games. “Cool,” I said as I took out Clue and saw what else was there. This had potential, I thought.

So we played a bunch of games of Clue, Kevin and I splitting the victories. We joked around and had a really good time.

While we were playing the doorbell rang. It was a delivery from the local supermarket/drug store. The young man brought four large bags into the house and asked me where I should put them. “On the counter in the kitchen, please.” He did as I asked. I fished five dollars out to give him as a tip and showed him out.

“What did he bring?” Kevin called. “Anything good.”

I looked into the bag and said, “Just some groceries and other supplies…oh and ice cream…and chocolate bars…want one?…I just need to put the perishables in the fridge…just be a second.”

I finished packing away the groceries, but the “supplies” I stashed behind the breakfast counter so that they were out of sight. I got each of us a glass of milk and chocolate bar and returned to playing Clue.

After our fifth game, Kevin said, “Uh…Carrie…I need to go to the bathroom.”

“No problem.” I said as I stood up. “Number one or number two?”

“Uhm…Both.” he replied.

“Okay,” I picked him up and carried him into the half bathroom that was off the foyer. It was actually pretty spacious for a half bath and both of us fit with no problem. I put him down on the vanity and reached over to loosen his belt. “I can take care of this,” he said.

“Sorry, pal, but I don’t think you can. Your mom said you’d cooperate.”

“Fine.” he said a bit sadly.

“It’ll be okay.” I said gently.

I undid his belt and then told him to do what we had done in the morning. He put his arms around my neck and I stood up with him hanging from my neck. In one motion I took off his shorts and his boxers and set him on the toilet.

“I’ll be right back,” I said. “Don’t go anywhere.”

“Where would I go,” he called out as I jogged upstairs to my room to get the changing pad and the tub of wipes, then I stepped into the kitchen and broke into the “supplies,” size six pampers.

“How we doin’?” I asked as I walked into the bathroom.

He didn’t answer. “Almost done?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Okay, lets get you fixed up then.”

I placed the changing pad on the floor and lowered Kevin down onto it. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Didn’t you and your mom talk about this?”

“Yeah…but I thought it wouldn’t start until later.”

“No time like the present.” I said.

Kevin let out a sigh and said softly, “Fine.”

I took the wipes and cleaned his bottom, humming a lullaby as I did so. I reached over and took the pamper and opened it up. I rolled him on his side a little because I didn’t want to grab him by his ankles and put the diaper under him. Then I taped him up and said, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”


“How’s that feel?”

“Okay, I guess.”

“Sure, you’ll get used to it. How about lunch?”

“What about my shorts?”

“It’s just us. You don’t really need them, do you?”

“No, I guess not.”

I picked him up and carried him on my hip to the breakfast counter and put him on one of the stools.

“Look,” I said, “your mom and your therapist both think this is a good idea. So I’m going with it even though I’m not sure about it. If you don’t like it, at any time, we’ll stop and pretend this never happened. Let me just say this, I won’t make you go in the diaper. I promise, if you ask, I’ll take you to the toilet.”


“And, I won’t do anything to embarrass you in public.”


“I swear, cross my heart and all that.”

He smiled a bit.

“To be honest,” I said, “the diaper is easier to change than the shorts. You don’t weigh all that much, but since you can’t stand, you’re just dead weight.”

“Okay, let’s give it a shot…What’s for lunch?”

Chapter 20
We had a light lunch - grilled cheese (on gluten-free bread, yuck!) and tomato soup. As I was cleaning up, I looked over at Kevin who was kneeling on kitchen stool. He was dressed in nothing but his polo shirt and his pamper. His elbows rested on the counter and he was twisting back and forth with a big smile on his face. He was so cute, I almost could feel my heart skipping a beat.

“So, Carrie?”

“So, Kevin?”

“What are we going to do now?”

“Well, I’ve got to finish cleaning up lunch and get some stuff ready for dinner.”

“Could I help?”

“That’s sweet of you, but with your right wrist all wrapped up, I don’t think you’d be able to. Is there anything you’d like to do?”

“Well,…if you don’t mind…”


“Could you get my Lego out of the attic? When we moved out of the city, mom and I just took all of my old toys and put them in storage bins. We figured we’d sort them out when we had the chance and give the stuff that was in good shape to charity. We just put all the bins up in the attic. Could you? Please?” he responded in the breathless rapid fire way that I was beginning to find so endearing. It really was so cute the way he was begging.

“Is it going to be hard to find?”

“No. Mom’s a neat freak and everything is labeled. You just have to go up the stairs and bring it down. Please???”

“Fine, since you asked so nicely.”

He actually clapped his hands in glee when I said yes.

I went up the stairs to the hallway where there was one of those fold down stair cases to the attic. I went up and, sure enough, everything was neatly labeled with Kevin’s Legos in a big plastic bin. I looked around while I was up there and found a couple other interesting things that I thought might be fun for another time.

I brought the Legos down and said “Where do you want me to put this?”

“How about on the coffee table in the living room?”

“Okay.” I put the bin on the table and then got Kevin and put him on the floor by the table. He scooted so that his feet were under it and began to pull the different Lego play sets out. He had a lot of them.

“This is my most favorite toy, ever!” he said.

“I liked them too. I’ll join you once I’m done in the kitchen.”

I went back into the kitchen and spent about a half an hour preparing a small chicken and some vegetables for dinner. When I was done I washed up and went to see Kevin.

“Do you need the bathroom?” I asked.

“Nope, I’m good,” he replied. “Look, I’m building a pirate ship.”

“Cool!” I said. I had hand-me-down Legos that were my older brothers’. They were awesome, but Lego had come a long way from the 1990s sets that I had.

I dropped down on the other side of the table from him and began working with him on the pirate ship. This activity carried us into the mid-afternoon.

“Kevin, you look a little drowsy.” I said. “Do you want to take a nap?”

“Do I have to?”

“No, but I think it would be a good idea.”


“Tell you what, if you take an hour nap this afternoon, I’ll late you stay up until 11:00 tonight.”

“That seems fair…Do I have to go upstairs?”

“Nah, I’ll get your mom’s yoga mat out like we did the other day.”

“Okay…could I go to the bathroom first?”

“Certainly.” I said as I stood up and walked around the table. I picked Kevin up under his arms and he wrapped his legs around my waist and then his arms around my neck. I was cradling his bottom in my arms and he rested his head on my shoulder. I brought him to the bathroom, put him on the changing pad and undid the diaper. Kevin took care of business while I got the yoga mat. When he was finished I rediapered, I took him to the living room and laid him on the mat. I spread the afghan over him and said, “does your mom actually do yoga?”

“No, it was a fad for a while. She didn’t like it, but she kept the mat to use if I ever had guests for sleepovers.”

“I bet it got a lot of use.”

“No, not really.” He sighed. I looked at him and suddenly he seemed very sad. I realized that I was dealing with a very lonely little boy. I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

“When you get up, I’ll need your help with a special project.”


“Now, one hour. Not a peep out of you until then.” I said as I flicked off the light and walked out of the living room.

“Fine…Peep, peep, peep.”

Chapter 21

While Kevin was down for his nap, I went out to the garage and retrieved the box with the wheelchair from the minivan. I was still surprised over how light it was. The clerk at the hospital said it was the latest thing in pediatric wheelchairs, but that it would require some assembly. Putting it together would be Kevin and my special project for the afternoon. I was okay at assembly things, but I always needed to have someone read me the directions.

I figured I’d take a little time to give my mom a call even though it wasn’t Saturday and I knew she would think the worst. Sure enough, Mom picked up on the first ring and said, “Carolyn, is everything alright?” - Full first name, she was worried. I made a mental note to change up the times when I called Mom while I was at Med School.

“Hi, Mom, everything’s fine with me, I just wanted to fill you in a little about what’s up with Kevin.” So I told her the whole story. She said she hadn’t really heard of the whole babying thing before so she said she’d put on my father. I don’t think I mentioned this but my dad is a psychiatrist. He’s in general practice, but he does a lot of work with adolescents. Mom figured he might know what this was about.

“Hi, Darling!” my father said. (I think I’m his favorite, but I have a feeling that if you asked any of my siblings, they’d say the same thing.) “How’s everything going with young master O’Neil?”

“Hi, Daddy!” I said back, “It’s great to hear you.” My dad and I have a great relationship, but he isn’t one to talk on the phone if he can avoid it. He likes face to face. Most of the time if he picks up when I call I get, “Hi Carrie, how are you, let me get your mother.” (and yes, I do call him “Daddy” what else would “Daddy’s little girl” do?) He must have sensed there was something up otherwise he would have told my mom “just give her my love.”

“So, what’s up with Kevin?” he asked.

I explained what was happening.

“Interesting,” he said.

“Not helpful,” I responded.

“Well, you know I don’t like second guessing other doctors, especially when I haven’t had a chance to meet with the person in question…I’ve heard of people doing things like this before, but it usually involves some sort treatment immediately after a trauma. I haven’t really heard of it as a means to deal with the type of stress you’ve been describing. But if the boy and his mom are okay with it, I don’t see any problem.”

“What about the diapers?” I asked.

“Well, you say he wore them to bed anyhow. I don’t see him wearing them during his waking hours being a problem as long as nothing happens to humiliate him in public. You say he’s comfortable with you?”

“His mom says he thinks of me as like the big sister he always wanted.”

“Good, good. Look, keep doing what you’re doing and he’ll be fine. If you take him out, just make sure he doesn’t get picked on and I think it’ll be grand. Are you both still coming to the Cape this weekend?”

“Absolutely! Kevin’s mom thought the change would do him good.”

“Great, when he’s here we’ll make sure he feels like he’s part of the family.”

“What do you think he should call you and Mom?”

“Hmm, he can call me Uncle Mike and your mom Aunt Maggie. That’s what your cousins call us. It’ll put him on a par with your generation and not make him seem like one of the grandkids.”

“Sounds good. Thanks for the advice, Daddy. Love you; see you this weekend.”

“I love you too. Take care of yourself…doctor’s orders.”

“I guess I’ll have to now. I wasn’t going to do all sorts of reckless, self destructive activities if you hadn’t told me otherwise.”

“Bye, bye, sweetheart.”

“Bye, Daddy. Kiss mom for me.”

“Will do.” and he hung up.

I looked at the clock and realized that I’d left Kevin napping for an hour and a half. I was surprised he hadn’t stirred. I went into the living room and saw that Kevin had kicked of the afghan and was lying in the fetal position. His thumb had found its way into his mouth again. I was surprised to see that the diaper was sagging between his legs.

I tiptoed over to him and patted his bottom and it felt squishy. Odd, I thought, he went to the bathroom just before his nap. I put my hand on his shoulder and gently shook him.

“Hey, buddy. Want to wake up?”

“Hmm? Oh, Hey Carrie. I must have been tireder than I thought.”

“I guess so. Looks like you need a change.”

“Hmm? Yeah, I guess so.” he said groggily.

“Be right back.” I went and got the changing pad, the wipes and a fresh diaper and came back. Kevin was now pretty alert.

“I’m a little surprised you’re wet.” I said as I slipped the changing pad under him.

“Well, I don’t wet every time I’m asleep, but any time I’m asleep it can happen. Doc Tom says the nerves to my bladder aren’t developed like they should be yet. I’ll grow out of it, he says.”

“Even if you went just before bed?” I asked as I undid the tapes and pulled the diaper off him.

“I guess. Doc Tom says I suffer from IBBS.”

“What’s that?”

Kevin chuckled, “Itty Bitty Bladder Syndrome.”

“Oh,” I laughed as I wiped him down. I just hummed a little song as I slipped the clean diaper under him and taped it up.

I cleaned up everything, washed myself up and then came back and said, “Ready for the special project?”

“Yeah, what are we doing?”

“We have to put your wheelchair together.”

“Oh, okay, I don’t see how I’ll be much help”

“I need you to read the directions. Does your mom have a tool box around here someplace?”

“In the garage.”

I got the tools opened, the box and took out the parts. Kevin was reading the instructions. “This looks complicated,” he said.

“It’s the latest thing.”

“Ah…I see.” Together we got to work and about an hour later we were done.

“It looks kind of like a stroller,” Kevin said.

“Ya think so?” I asked, knowing full well that that was exactly what it looked like, an oversized toddlers stroller.

“I thought this was a wheelchair.”

“It is.”

“Shouldn’t it have big back wheels that I could turn.”

“You only have one working arm. How would that work for you? You’d go around in circles.”

He laughed, “Yeah, I guess so.”

I looked at the description on the directions. “Lightweight, modern design…One hand opening…Special needs stroller…For children up to 100 lbs.”

“It’s a stroller,” I sighed. “Look if you don’t like it, we don’t need to use it. I’ll see if I can rent something from one of the pharmacies in town.”

“No, I think it’ll be okay.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, why not?”

And at that moment. Terri called.

Chapter 22
When the phone rang we both looked at the caller I.D. and saw that it was Terri. Kevin was sitting closer to the phone and snatched it right up and started with a cheerful, “Hi, Mom!” and then “…It’s been great so far…uh yeah…it was a little weird at first…no, she takes me to the bathroom…Legos!…I built a pirate ship…I’ll send you a picture…yes…was that your idea?…I guess I was tired…no, I didn’t make a fuss…Carrie said she’d let me stay up later if I did…put together the wheelchair…no, we just finished…I guess it looks comfortable…no, more like a stroller, you know the kind that little kids use, but bigger…an umbrella stroller? Is that what they call them?…Carrie said we could rent something at the pharmacy, but I said, I’d give it a shot…When do you take off?…Are you in business class…ooo First Class, getting fancy…Sure, I’ll put her on…Carrie, Mom wants to talk to you.”

“Hi, Terri,” I said after Kevin passed me the phone.

“Hi, Carrie, it sounds like today went pretty well.”

“I think so. He seems to be enjoying it.” I glanced over to Kevin who gave me two thumbs up. I chuckled.

“Is he on board?”

“So far so good. Like we discussed I told him if he didn’t like it or thought it was getting weird we’d stop.”

“Did the delivery arrive? Was everything in it?”

"Yes, I think so.

“Good…Have you talked to your parents yet?”

“Yeah, they are looking forward to us joining them. They say they want Kevin to feel like he’s part of the family.”

“Great…What are you planning on doing tomorrow?”

“I was thinking of going to the zoo if Kevin is up for it.” Again I glanced over at Kevin and he had a big smile on his face and was nodding his head up and down vigorously. “I think he likes the idea,” I added.

“He loves the zoo, we used to go all the time when his dad was alive…Check in the top drawer in the desk in the kitchen. I have a family membership card that will get you in for free.”

“Cool… I heard Kevin tell you about the wheel chair. It wasn’t what I was expecting.”

“He said he’s okay with it, just see how it goes.”

“Logistically, I think it will work better than a regular wheelchair. It weighs next to nothing and the instructions say it folds up really easily and really compactly. Plus it has a rack on the back for the caregivers bags and stuff. I hope it works out.”

“It should…Look they are about to close the cabin door, could you put Kevin back on? Thanks for everything Carrie!”

“Have a great trip!…Kevin your mom wants you.”

“Hi…I love you too…I’ll miss you too…bye bye Mommy,” and he hung up a little teary-eyed.

I put my hand on his back and rubbed up and down. “You okay?” I asked.

“Yeah…just give me a second.”

“Sure.” I said as I got up and gave him a little kiss on the top of his head.

I went into the kitchen and put dinner in the oven and set the timer.

When I returned, Kevin looked more composed. “Do you want to try out the wheelchair,” I asked consciously avoiding calling it a stroller.

“Um okay, could we keep it in the house though? I’d rather not have the neighbors see me in it.”

“Sure.” I picked Kevin up and placed him in the seat.

One thing that was different between it and a regular stroller was that the seat was higher off the ground. I pointed this out to him and said, “You’ll be able to see things better.”


“Let’s see how this rolls.” I said and began to push forward only to find that it wouldn’t move. I looked to see if it had wheels were locked and they weren’t. I picked up the instruction manual and read. “Oh, I see. It has a safety feature, the weight of a person in the seat causes the wheels to lock unless the harness is fastened. Let’s try that.”


The chair had a pretty elaborate harness. I put he harness over his shoulder and pulled the and clicked it into the back of the chair and pulled the crotch strap up and clicked it into the harness. “There, all safe and secure,” I said.

“Great.” he sighed.

Now it rolled very smoothly. “This moves great.” I said, “How’s it feel.”

“Pretty good actually,” came the response.

“Ready to try it at the zoo tomorrow?”


I took Kevin out of the chair and put him on the couch and then dropped down next to him and we watched TV until the timer went off to tell us that dinner was ready.

“Give me a minute to put it on the table.” I said.

I got up took the chicken out of the oven and popped the veggies in to the microwave. I got the salad into two bowls which I put on the table and then sliced the chicken. By then the veggies were ready. I put it all on the table and went to get Kevin.

“I need to wash up,” he said.

“Right, I forgot.” I had kind of forgotten the situation and thought he would have done that while I was putting dinner out. Then I said, “Hold on.” I grabbed one of the baby wipes and said, “Give me your hands.”

“Only if I can have them back.” He replied.

I wiped his hands with the wipe and said, “There. Now Kevin’s all clean.”

He rolled his eyes and I picked him up and carried him to the table.

We said grace and Kevin dove into his salad. “Do you want milk, water, or I still have some of the pedialyte if you want that?”

“Milk, please.”

I poured him a glass of milk and got some water for myself and joined Kevin at the table.

We finished our salads and I asked Kevin if he liked white or dark meat. “White meat, please,” he said. I gave him a couple of slices and a helping of the mixed vegetables and took the same for myself.

Kevin picked up his fork and tasted the vegetables then he turned to the chicken and stopped.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I can’t cut this. Could you help me?”

“Oh, right. Sure.” I said and walked over to his side of the table. I stood behind him and reached around him and cut his meat into bite size pieces. “Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help,” I said, “it’s what I’m here for. Now finish up. We’ll have dessert a little later.”

Chapter 23
The rest of the evening passed uneventfully. After I cleaned up from dinner, I took Kevin to the bathroom and then we just watched TV until about 10:00. Then I said to Kevin, “How about we get you ready for bed?”

“Huh, you said I could stay up to eleven if I took a nap,” Kevin said, on the edge of whining.

“I know, and I’ll keep my word, but I was thinking, we could get you ready for bed and then, instead of watching TV we could read a story together.”

Kevin said, “I haven’t done that since I was really little…I guess we could try it.”

I could tell that he actually liked the idea but was afraid to admit it. I picked him up and brought him upstairs. “One last trip to the bathroom before we get you ready for bed,” I said as I took him into the bathroom and placed him down on vanity. “Stick 'em up!” I said and got the same eye-roll and half the chuckle I’d gotten earlier. I took off his shirt and then said, "Oops, be right back. I jogged downstairs to retrieve the changing pad and some other supplies. When I returned I put Kevin on the floor, slipped the pad under him and undid his diaper.

“See if you can go, because after this, that’s it.” I told him.


“I’ll be right back.” I said as I left the room to give him some privacy. I went into Kevin’s dresser to see what he had in the way of pajamas. I remembered the first time I saw him in his sleeping clothes he just had on a t-shirt and a goodnite, and I guessed he didn’t usually wear pajamas in the summer. But I figured he had to have something. He did, but they were mostly heavier, winter weight things. I was hoping for something a bit more…and then I found it. A pair of stripped shorts and a top, still in an unopened package that were basically a little boy’s pajama version of a New York Yankees uniform. “Perfect!” I thought.

I pulled back the covers on the bed and left the pjs folded up on it for a little later. I went back into the bathroom and asked, “All done?”

“Yep.” Kevin replied.

“Let’s get you ready then,” I said. “I think this diaper has had it, so we’ll give you a fresh one.” I took the old diaper and tossed it in the trash. It was basically clean, but a bit sweaty and I had torn part of the velcro when I took it off him before.

I opened up a fresh diaper and slipped under Kevin’s bottom and then I took some of the baby powder that I had brought up from the “supplies” in the kitchen and sprinkled it on him.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“Baby powder,” I responded, “What’s the matter? Don’t you like it?”

“No, it’s not that…I just never use it is all…It smells kind of nice.”

“Well that’s okay then.” I said as I pulled the diaper between his legs and taped it into place. I picked him up and brought him into his bedroom and set him on the bed. I took the pajama top and said, “The 'stick ‘em up’ thing is getting old. Can we just get this on?” I threaded one arm through the top and then the other and then buttoned it up the front.

Kevin looked down and said, “Where’d you get this?”

“It was in your dresser. Don’t you recognize it.”

“No. I hate the Yankees. I’m a Mets fan…Oh, I know. One of mom’s cousins sent it to me for my birthday last year and I never wore it. She couldn’t keep the Mets and the Yankees straight, besides, I stopped wearing pajamas in the summer last year.”

“We could just do the top over your diaper if you want.”

“Nah, lets see what it looks like,” he replied.

“Okay, then, lie back.” He did and I threaded his legs through the holes on the bottom and then reached under his arms and picked him off the bed so that I could pull the shorts over his diaper. The diaper caused the shorts to bulge out a little, but they were still basically a loose fit. “How’s that feel?” I asked.

“Not bad…How do I look?”

“Cute enough to eat.” I said with a chuckle.

“Why do people always want to eat cute children?” he asked grinning. “C’mon! Let me see!” he demanded.

I carried him over to the full length mirror that hung on the inside of the bathroom door and held him on my hip so that he could get a good look at himself.

“Jeez…all I need is a pacifier and I’d look like an oversized toddler.” he said laughing.

“Yeah.” I laughed, but wondered if this was his way for asking for a binky.

“Okay, cutie, let’s get you into bed.” I said as I bounced him up and down a bit on my hip and walked over to bed.

I put him into the bed and pulled the blanket over him. It is the summer but the house’s central air kept the bedrooms cool enough to need blankets even on the hottest night. It was very nice.

“So, what’ll it be Twilight or Lord of the Rings?”

“Twilight? Gross. Lord of the Rings!”

“Have you ever read it?” I asked.

“Saw the movies,” was his reply.

“Not the same thing…Good choice, by the way. Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll read the first chapter and you read the second and we’ll go back and forth until it’s time for you to go to sleep. Okay?”

“Yeah, that sounds good. Do you do voices?”

“Absolutely. Scoot over a little.” I said as I sat down on the bed next to him. I let him hold the book and I slipped my arm around his shoulder.

And so we began “story time.” We didn’t get too far but we both liked it and decided we’d continue this every night.

Towards the end, Kevin drifted off to sleep as I was reading. I realized he was asleep and I slipped out of bed as gently as I could. I tiptoed across the floor to the dresser and brought his teddy bear over to him. I put it next to him. His eyes fluttered open a bit and he said “Thanks, Carrie” as he hugged the bear to himself. " 'night." he mumbled and faded into sleep.

“Good night, sweetheart.” I whispered as I leaned down and gave him a soft kiss on his forehead.

All things considered, this had turned out to be a very good day.

Chapter 24
On Wednesday morning I got up early like usual, but instead of going jogging in the neighborhood, I used Terri’s treadmill. We had both agreed that it would be a bad idea for me to live Kevin alone in the house until he was up and about again, so Terri gave me permission to use her exercise equipment and really anything else I wanted to use. I mentioned that the O’Neil’s were well off, you could even say rich, but they weren’t showy about it (except maybe when it came to automobiles.) Terri’s room was really a suite. The master bedroom was big and beautifully decorated. Off of it was the master bath which had one of those fancy showers that shot water at you from all directions to give you a massage. There was also a whirlpool. (Terri told me I absolutely had to use the shower and the whirlpool while I was staying there and I fully intended to use them) She had a big walk in closet with built in dressers, she said I could have borrowed any of her clothes I wanted, but she was so much shorter than I am that it wouldn’t work which was a shame because she had beautiful stuff. Finally, she had a nice sized exercise room with a treadmill, a stationary bike, and some other exercise equipment plus a big flat screen TV and a stereo. Terri must put all this to good use because she was in really great shape for a woman her age. I thought I’d make sure I was like her. She was really fit, but still lady like.

Anyway, after I exercised and took a much longer shower than I should have (the whirlpool would wait for another day.) I got dressed and went to check on Kevin. He was actually sitting up in bed for a change. He had his Ipad out and was checking out the zoo’s website.

“Hey!” he said cheerfully as I entered his room.

“Hey, yourself,” I said back. “This is different. I’m used to dealing with the walking dead when I get you up.”

“I got up early. I guess I’m excited about the zoo.”

“Cool. Did you see anything you like?”

“We used to go a lot so I was checking to see if they had anything new and they have some new shows and a couple of temporary exhibits that look cool. Plus…drumroll please,…they now have a sea otter tank. Sea otters are awesome.”

“Well I guess we should get moving then. Do you need a clean diaper?”

The next hour was pretty much like yesterday. I stripped him and let him go to the toilet and then have his bath. When it came time to re-diaper him and dress him, I asked, “What’ll it be today? Boxers, Pullups or Pampers?”

“Well, do you think anyone will be able to tell?”

“Since you’ll be in the stroll…wheelchair, I don’t see how they could.”

“Then could we use the uhm, Pampers?” and then he quickly added, “you said it was easier for you than the others.”

“Pampers it is. What do you want to wear over them. The weather report said it would be warm and sunny.”

“How about a tee-shirt and gym shorts?”


“Could I go barefoot? It’s not like I’m going to be walking.”

"I don’t see why not. I’ll throw your flip flops into my bag in case anybody says anything.

I got his clothes together and a fresh diaper. After I put the diaper on him, I said, “I should put some sunscreen on you now before you’re dressed. It has to sink in for at least a half hour before you get exposed to the sun, plus it’ll be less messy if I do it now.”

“Okay. I think we’ve got some under the medicine chest.”

I opened it up and found a tube of Water Babies Sun Screen. “Here we go,” I said. “SPF 2000, ideal for Vampires, snowmen, and freckle-faced Irish kids.”
Kevin stuck his tongue out at me. “Like you’re any better!” he laughed.

“We’re both poster children for skin cancer prevention.” I replied. “Now sit still and let me grease you up.”
I applied the sun screen to his face and ear, his neck, his arms and legs. “Better do your feet too, if you’re barefooting it today.” When I was done, Kevin was shining and slippery. “We’ll wait a couple of minutes to finish getting you dressed. You’d slide out of my arms if I tried now.”

“Non-greasy, my backside,” he said. While we were waiting for Kevin to absorb his, I put some on my face and arms. I’ve been burned before and didn’t want to ruin the day.

I finished dressing Kevin. He had on a New York Mets tee-shirt that had the smiling face of Mr. Met on it (“Much better than the Yankees pjs,” he said,) and a pair of blue gym shorts with orange piping and the Mets logo on them. “Do you have a hat or sunglasses?” I asked him.

“I think I’ve got sunglasses in the top drawer of my dresser and I’ve got a couple of baseball caps in the closet.”

I quickly found Kevin a Met’s baseball cap and (I wouldn’t have said it to him) the most adorable little pair of aviator sunglasses I’d ever seen. For my part, I’d be wearing a pale pink sundress, a pair of sandals, and a floppy straw hat. The whole look was pretty girly-girl for me.

“I think we’re set.” I said

“What about breakfast?” he asked.

“I got everything ready while you were having your bath.” I picked Kevin up and carried him downstairs. We had our usual breakfast and then we headed out to the garage.

The night before I had put the wheelchair (I’m trying to remember not to call it a stroller, but it really looked like one) into the trunk of Terri’s two seater and had shifted the booster seat over from the minivan. I had looked at the state law for booster seats and except for his age, everything said that a child his size should be in one. I figured he wouldn’t complain if I just acted like it was natural. I had also packed my diaper bag with a few clean Pampers, a travel pack of wipes, some gluten free snacks, two bottles of pedialyte, and a couple bottles of water. I had also grabbed a clean pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, just in case. This really looked like an excursion for a toddler.

When we got to the car, Kevin looked at the passenger seat and said, “What’s that?”

“It’s the booster seat they loaned us at the hospital.”

“What’s it doing in here?”

“I think you should ride in it.”

Kevin was about to argue when I said, “Look, I know you’re fifteen and the law doesn’t apply to a kid your age. But if I get pulled over, a cop is going to wonder why I’m driving around with a little boy who isn’t properly restrained and I’ll get a ticket. If I use the booster seat in this car, at least I can let you ride up front.”

“There’s no place else to sit.”


Kevin rolled his eyes.

“Try it,” I said, “if it’s really that bad, I’ll take it out when we get to the zoo and put it in the trunk. Okay?”

“Fine, fine.”

“You’re such a good boy!” I said and pinched his cheek.

“Cut it out,” he said laughing.

I put him in the booster seat but I let him fasten his seat belt. We pulled out of the garage and headed towards the parkway and the zoo.

It was about an hour and a half drive to the zoo, largely because of traffic. About a half hour into the drive I asked Kevin, “How are you doing? Is the seat okay?”

“Yeah, you know I actually kind of like it. I can finally see over the dashboard. The view is much better from this thing.”

“Good.” I said relieved.

“But, uhm, could we stop somewhere soon? I need to go to the bathroom?”

“Sure, we passed sign a couple of minutes ago that said there’s a rest area in 5 miles. So, we should be there in less than five minutes. Okay?”

“That’ll work,” he said, just as the traffic ground to a complete stop.

Chapter 25
Generally speaking, when people talk about traffic coming to a complete stop, they are exaggerating somewhat…not this time. We sat still for about five minutes and then I turned the radio to the all news station and got the traffic report. A truck had overturned just before the next exit and all lanes were stopped. The report said that emergency crews were on their way, but it would be a while. Just great.

I said to Kevin, “How are you doing? Will you be okay?”

“Maybe, as long as we get moving soon.”

And so we sat for another ten minutes. I noticed a lot of other cars were shutting down their engines and people were getting out and sitting on their hoods or leaning against their fenders.

“Do you think we should shut down too?” Kevin asked.

“Yeah, probably.” I said as I opened the windows and shut off the engine. Kevin squirmed a little bit, but was trying to tough it out.

“Want to try calling your mom?” I asked. “If I’m figuring right, it’s about 4:00 in London. She said she’d be home in the afternoon. Want to give it a shot?”

“Yeah! Good idea!” Kevin replied.

I took out my iphone which I had programmed with Terri’s number and handed it to Kevin. “She’s number 1 on the speed dial,” I said.

Kevin took the phone, said thanks, and in a few moments was talking to his mom half way around the world. I still find this amazing.

Most of the talk was the usual chitchat you’d expect when a kid was speaking to a parent who’s away on a business trip. So, I kind of tuned out and was almost dozing off. Then I heard Kevin say, “We’re on our way…No, stuck in traffic…so far, like 20 minutes…It sucks…I’m hot 'cause we had to shut the car down, so no A/C…I really need to go to the bathroom…I don’t think I could…we’re in the center lane and what’s Carrie going to do, hold me up while I go against a tree…I don’t really want to…Why? Cause it’s embarrassing…it’s different when I’m at home and in bed…it’s just different…”

I pretty much knew what this part of the conversation was about so I wasn’t really surprised when I heard, “Carrie, Mom wants to talk to you.”

“Hey Terri. How’d your trip go?” I asked.

She chuckled, “Better than yours is going, by the sounds of it.”

“Yeah, this could be better. I think I know what you and Kevin were talking about.”

“He’s reluctant to use the diaper in public, but it makes sense for him to do it. Try to talk to him about it. He’ll be much more comfortable once he stops fighting it.”

“Sure, I’ll see what I can do. Do you want me to put Kevin back on?”

“Yes, please.”

“I’ll talk to you soon. Enjoy your first night in London.” I said, then to Kevin: “Kev, your mom wants you.”

“Hi,” he said, “I always do…sure, if we ever get there…I know it’s not her fault…I guess…I love you too…Talk to you tomorrow?…bye bye.”

Kevin returned the phone and said, “I’m sorry for being so grumpy.”

“It’s okay,” I said, “your hot and uncomfortable and you need to go to the bathroom. I’m in the same boat. The difference is you can do something about the last part and I can’t”

“Jealous of a diaper boy?” he asked.

“You’re not a diaper boy,” I responded, “but, I don’t see why you’re fighting it. You could get some relief just by relieving yourself.”

“You like those puns don’t you?”

“That wasn’t really a pun, but yeah, I do. I know you’ll be more comfortable and I’ll change you as soon as we get to the rest area.”

“It’s actually hard to go like this…you know when I’m awake and not standing up over a toilet.”

“I could tickle you again.” I said and gave him a little poke in the ribs.

“Don’t even think about it. I’ll try.” He got quiet after that and I saw a look of relief on his face and heard a soft hiss coming from down by his waist.

“Feel better?” I asked after about half a minute?

“Much. I just need to get out of this before I get a diaper rash.”

“You’ve got some time before that becomes an issue.”

A couple minutes later things started to move a bit, so I started up the car and turned the A/C back on. Then we moved forward about 50 yards and then another 50 and so on, we inched forward until after another half hour we got to the entrance for the rest area. We pulled into the parking lot of the rest area which was as full as any I’d ever seen. I guess everyone needed to get off the highway for a little while.

We ended up parking at the spot in the lot furthest from the main building. This was one of the deluxe rest areas you see on some major highways. It had a gas station, a picnic area, a playground with swings and slides and the like, and a main building that had a food court, bathrooms, and a gift shop.

“Well, let’s get you changed. Maybe we can get a snack while we’re here, too.”

“Okay. Please hurry, this is feeling icky,” Kevin said as he undid his seat belt.

I got out of the car, went around to the trunk and got out Kevin’s wheel chair. I positioned it next to the passenger door and slid my right arm under Kevin’s knees and he put his arm over my shoulder. I lowered him into the chair and began buckling him in. I grabbed the diaper bag and my iphone, locked the door and headed across the lot to the main building.

The main building was crowded and noisy, but the air conditioning made it feel like heaven. I looked around and found the family rest room. I rolled Kevin over and we waited our turn on line. A lady with an infant in a baby carrier stood closest to the door, next to her was a young dad with a little girl of about 6 or 7, then came Kevin and me and after us was another lady who I’d guess was about thirty. She had a little girl of about 9 by the hand and a little boy of about 2 in a stroller. When they joined the line I nodded “hello” to them and gave the toddler a big smile and waved. He waved back and smiled at me from behind his pacifier.

“Hi.” the lady said.

“Hi.” I said back. I think she took this as an invitation to a conversation so she launched in.

“Have you ever seen traffic like that before? It was absolutely awful. I thought it was bad back home, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Nicole here nearly wet herself and Johnny is definitely going to need a change.”

“Mommmm!” the little girl whined, “Don’t say things like that. You are soooo embarrassing.”

I smiled and gave a little chuckle.

“She’s so grown up now. I think my very existence embarrasses her.” the lady laughed. Then she looked at Kevin and said, “Who’s this cutie?” She knelt down on one knee and said, “Hi there sweetie. What’s your name?”

Kevin just looked at her and kept quiet. “He’s a bit shy.” I said.

“Oh, well he’s adorable. You’re definitely too young to be his mommy. Are you his big sister?”

“Huh? Oh, cousin actually. I’m taking him to the zoo.”

“That is so nice!… CP?” she asked.

“Excuse me?”

“I’m sorry, I was wondering what his disability was? I thought maybe he had cerebral palsy or maybe spina bifida. I’m sorry if I’m prying, but I start talking and I just keep going. I just finished getting my certification as a special ed teacher’s aid and I saw the stroller and the big kid in it, I figured he’s ‘special’.”

“Oh, I see.” was all I said to that. By now I’d gotten to the door of the family restroom and said, “Nice talking to you.”

“I’ll just be quiet. I talk way too much. You just get his diaper changed. Can’t have a little cutie like him get a rash. Oh, and have a great time at the zoo.”

I pushed the door closed behind us, and let out a deep sigh. “Wow!” I said.

Kevin was giving me a dirty look. “What?” I asked.

“You said people wouldn’t be able to tell and she thought there was something wrong with me.”

“I don’t know how she knew…Maybe its because she’s professional…Who cares though, you don’t know her and you won’t be seeing her again.”

“Yeah, fine. Could you get me out of this now?” He didn’t sound convinced.

“I’m sorry, honey. You know I would do anything to embarrass you.” I said as I placed him on the changing station.

“I guess.” he said a bit sullenly.

Then I had a brain storm. Instead of pulling down his shorts to change the diaper, I pulled up his shirt and blew a raspberry on his tummy. He let out a burst of laughter, so I did it again, and again. He was laughing heartily when I asked, “Still mad?”

Between laughs, he said, “No…but…could…you…get…me…changed?”

Chapter 26
I got Kevin changed and then figured I should take care of myself. I helped Kevin sit up on the changing station and said, “I’ll just be a minute. Don’t fall of that thing” and walked into the stall.

As I closed the door, Kevin said, “You could always wear one of my Pampers.”

“Not likely.” I replied.

I finished up, got Kevin into the wheelchair, and we headed outside. Our talkative friend said to Kevin, “I’ll bet you feel much better now” and winked at me as she took her two kids into the bathroom.

“Let’s get away from her. She makes me feel awkward.” Kevin said.

“Yeah, me too. Want to get a snack?”


“What do you feel like?”

Kevin craned his neck to see what was around. “I can’t see what they’ve got from down here.”

“Oh, sorry. I told him that there was a burger place, a fried chicken place, Starbucks, and frozen yogurt.”

“Hmm, I think I’d better go with frozen yogurt. I don’t remember the other places being on my list of places with gluten free options.”

“It’s hot, I think frozen yogurt sounds great.”

So I wheeled Kevin over to the stand and asked him what flavor he wanted.

“Chocolate, please.”

“Cup or cone?”

“Are the cones gluten-free?”

I asked the girl behind the counter. She said, “I don’t know if they are or not, I wouldn’t take the chance.”

“Did you get that?” I asked Kevin.

“Large cup, then, please,” came his reply, “with marshmallows and sprinkles.”

“I’ll have a small cup of strawberry, please.” I added.

The server quickly filled our orders, I paid and tried to figure out how to carry the two cups and push Kevin.

“Why don’t you push the little guy over there,” the server said indicating a recently vacated table, “and I’ll bring it over for you.”

“Thanks that would be great.”

“No problem.”

I pushed Kevin over and asked him if he wanted to get out of the chair. He did, so I helped him into a chair.

The server, a girl whose name tag read “Meghan” came over a put our frozen yogurt down and said, “Okay if I sit with you for a bit? I’m on break now and…well I love little kids.”

I glanced at Kevin and he shrugged to say it was okay, (she was pretty and I think I was getting to know what Kevin’s type was) so I smiled at her and said sure.

I pushed Kevin’s cup over to him and he picked up the spoon and tried feeding himself, but being able to use only one hand, the cup was sliding across the table.

“Here, let me help,” Meghan said.

“Okay,” Kevin replied.

I think Kevin was expecting her to hold the cup for him as he ate, that’s what I was expecting. But instead, she picked up the spoon and began feeding Kevin the yogurt.

“So,” she said, “I’m Meghan. What’s your name?”

“I’m Kevin.”

“Open up. How old are you, Kevin?” she said as she brought a spoon full of yogurt to Kevin’s mouth.

“Guess.” he said before the spoon went in.

She smiled, "You like games, huh?…Hmm…I’m not so sure…"she said as she tapped the spoon on the cup…, “Ready for more?”

Kevin opened wide. I think he was enjoying this.

“I’m going to guess…that you’re about…twenty.”

Kevin laughed and shook his head.

“What, too low? Oh, I know too high…let’s go with ten then…no, no, still to high. I bet you’re just about 8.”

Kevin opened his mouth to reply and she popped another spoonful of yogurt in. She looked at me smiling and said, “About right? I always shoot high with the little guys, they never want people to think their younger than they really are.”

“Yeah, just about,” I replied and Kevin turned to me and rolled his eyes. Meghan missed this and went to put another spoon into Kevin mouth and missed smearing it on his cheek.

“Oh, I’m so sorry Kevin…let me get you cleaned up…” she grabbed some napkins from the dispenser and started to clean up Kevin’s face. “This is just going to leave you all sticky. Do you have any wet-wipes in your bag?”

“Yeah, hold on a sec.” I reached into the bag and grabbed the travel pack of baby wipes and passed them along to Meghan.

She put her left hand on his chin and turned him to face her. She efficiently wiped his face clean turning it from side to side as she did so. “There we go…all clean…If you didn’t have these we’d have had to do a spit bath,” she laughed.

I laughed too, Kevin, not so much.

“I better get back to work,” she said after a moment. “It was so nice to meet you both. Bye-bye Kevin she said and waved her fingers at him.”

“Bye, Meghan.” Kevin and I said in unison.

“So cute!” she said and reached over and mussed up Kevin’s hair.

When she was gone, I said, “Sorry about that.”

“She wasn’t so bad,” Kevin said back. “She was really cute. Lousy aim though.”

I held Kevin’s cup so he could finish up and then said, “Let’s see what’s up with the traffic.”

I popped Kevin into the chair and buckled him in. I rolled him passed Meghan who waved again and said, “Come back soon.” Kevin waved too.

When we got out to the parking lot, Kevin said, “Why does everyone just assume it’s natural for a kid my size to be sitting in a stroller?”

I didn’t really have an answer. “Maybe they want to be polite so they act like there is nothing unusual about it.”

“Maybe… Do I really look that young?”

I didn’t know how to answer that without hurting his feelings, so I said, “Well…Oh look the traffics moving again. Let’s get to the zoo.”

Re: Summer Nurse

Chapter 27
The rest of our trip to the zoo was uneventful. Kevin’s mood had improved significantly once we were moving again. He was even humming a little tune to himself as we drove. When we pulled into the the zoo’s parking lot I was pleasantly surprised by how empty it actually was. I guessed that it was early enough in the summer that the day camps and summer programs weren’t bringing groups yet. We got a parking spot up close to the entrance and we went through the routine of setting up the wheelchair, shifting Kevin into it and getting my bag. I made sure Kevin had his hat and shades on because the sun was getting pretty bright.

When we got to the gate, I presented Terri’s family membership card and we were granted admittance and supplied with maps and a time table of events and shows. I passed the timetable and map to Kevin and asked him, “You’re in charge. Anything look interesting?”

“They have a program at the Bear enclosure in about 15 minutes that looks cool,” he said.

“Okay, where is it?”

Kevin looked at the map, “Hmm, other side of the park, but we can take the cable car to get to it.”

“Which way is that?”

Kevin pointed to the path that led to the tram and I wheeled him over that way. An attendant greeted us and directed us up the wheelchair ramp. “Cool,” Kevin said, “no waiting.”

When we got to the cable car, another attendant said, “You’ll need to fold up the stroller and hold the child on your lap ma’am.”

“Is that really necessary?” I asked.

“It’s the rules, ma’am. I don’t make 'em.”

“Okay.” I said and looked at Kevin who shrugged.

I picked him up and the attendant was nice enough to help me with the wheelchair, (I’m refusing to call it a stroller.) I sat down with Kevin on my lap, Then a man and woman with a little girl got on with us. The cable car left the station and began rising into the air.

Kevin said, “You get a great view from up here. If you look over there you can see where the have all the African animals. Over there is the Australian animals. Kangaroos and koalas and platypuses. Really cool. And over there is the new sea otter exhibit. I really want to go there next. Okay, Carrie?” He was getting excited.

“I told you, when we got here, you’re in charge. We’ll go anywhere you want.” I replied.

The lady smiled at Kevin and then said to me, “you’ve got yourself quite a tour guide. Haven’t you?”

I smiled back and shrugged. “He loves animals.”

The little girl said, “How come you’re riding in a stroller?”

“Tiffany, don’t be rude.” Her father said.

“It’s okay,” Kevin said. “It’s actually a wheelchair. I had an accident a couple of days ago and sprained my ankles and my wrist. So, I need some help getting around.”

“Oh,” Tiffany replied, “What happened?”

“I was doing a gymnastics routine and landed badly.”

“He’s a very well spoken little boy,” Tiffany’s mom said to me.

“Well,” I said, “he’s a bit older than he looks.”

We sat quietly for the rest of the ride and enjoyed the view. When we got off the cable car and I got Kevin strapped in he asked me to take him to the bathroom before we went to the exhibit. Again, I asked him to show me the way.

There was a bathroom close by. I saw the sign for the men’s room and the ladies’ room, but there was no family bathroom sign. I flagged down an attendant that was walking by and asked her about it. “Sorry,” she said, “they haven’t gotten around to modernizing all the bathrooms yet. The only family restrooms are at the entrance and on the other side of the park. You can just take him into the ladies room with you. Nobody will mind.” I thanked her as she walked away

I wasn’t sure about this and I looked at Kevin who was starting to look a little desperate. “It’ll be okay,” I said.

I rolled him into the bathroom. It was very big and brightly lit, but empty. I noticed that they had a large handicap stall all the way in the back. That’s something anyway, I thought. “Let’s go in there.” I said and I wheeled Kevin through the ladies’ room.

“When was the last time you were in one of these?” I said.

“I can’t remember. It was a long time ago.” he whispered back.

We got to the stall and I picked Kevin out of the wheelchair and parked it outside the stall. I carried him in and set him on the toilet. “Number one or number two?” I asked.

“Both” came the reply.

Okay. I helped Kevin take off his shorts and then opened up his diaper. I picked him up and grabbed the diaper before it fell to the ground. Then I set him on the toilet to take care of his business.

“Any chance for a little privacy?” he asked.

“'fraid not” I replied.

He gave a little “humpf” sound and, well I won’t gross you out with the details.

He flushed and I said, “Okay, lets get you dressed.” I didn’t want to change him on the floor for obvious reasons. I had been taught how to diaper a person who was seated, but was having trouble remembering how to do it and was messing the whole thing up and only got the Pamper loosely on him. After struggle to do it, I said “Sorry about this” and picked him up and brought him out to the changing station.

“What are you doing?” he whispered.

“I don’t have a better way of doing this.” I said.

I put him on the changing station and fixed his diaper. A middle aged woman stepped out of a stall and began washing her hands at a nearby sink and said to me, “Potty training can be such a challenge, can’t it?”

“Yeah, totally.” I said back. I looked at Kevin who was blushing furiously.

“He’s a bit old for it, isn’t he?”

“Special circumstances,” I said back.

“Oh. I see.” then to Kevin, “you’ll be wearing big boy undies in no time,” and to me, “He’s adorable.”

After she left, I got Kevin all dressed up and back into his wheelchair. I knelt down in front of him and said, “I’m so sorry. I was sure it was empty.”

He looked at me and smiled. “It’s okay. It wasn’t your fault.”

I was a little confused. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I was a little embarrassed at first, but I realized at the rest station, nobody knows me and I can pretend to be any age I want. This is actually kind of fun”

Chapter 28
Kevin and I went to the bear enclosure and the program was really pretty good. It was aimed at little kids, but the zoo keeper really seemed to know what she was talking about. As it turned out, it was the polar bear enclosure, which made the whole thing even more interesting. The pen the bears were kept in was at ground level, but, if you went down a ramp, there was a glass wall with the polar bears’ pool behind it and there were a couple of tiers of seats, like bleachers, where the audience sat to watch the bears swim and hear the presentation. It was like a big polar bear aquarium.

When we went down the ramp, I noticed a parking area for strollers and an attendant said that all strollers had to be left there. I was about to protest that it wasn’t a stroller, but a wheelchair when I noticed that apart from a minor size difference it wasn’t any different from the other strollers. (Who was I trying to kid.) I slung my bag over my right shoulder and picked Kevin up and plopped him on my left hip. He put his arms around my neck as I carried him and I could hear him humming a little tune that I couldn’t place right away but then I realized it was the theme song from the Barney TV show.

We sat in the back row of the bleachers and the Kevin said, “Could I sit on your lap?… I think I’ll be able to see better if I do.”

“Sure,” I said, “if you like.” Actually I enjoyed the cable car ride with Kevin on my lap and I was hoping he’d want to sit on my lap again, but I didn’t want to ask him. He sat on my right thigh with his legs dangling between mine and I wrapped my arms around his waist to keep him secure.

The presentation was delayed a little bit and Kevin said, “Carrie, I’m thirsty. Do you have anything to drink.”

“Yeah, I’ve got a couple of bottles of water and a couple bottles of the orange pedialyte. Do you want one?”

“Yes, please.”


“Sorry, the orange pedialyte.”

I reached into the outer pocket of my bag and pulled out one of the pedialyte sports bottles and gave it to Kevin. He broke the seal and began drinking. I looked around me and there were about thirty people gathered. It was mostly little boys and girls. Most of the grownups were women, clearly either mommies or caregivers. Several of the smaller kids were drinking from bottles or sippy cups. Kevin fit right in.

At the end of the presentation, Kevin and I headed for the sea otter pool which had just opened a couple of weeks before. He was really excited to see it. When I was in high school, my family had taken a vacation to the Pacific Northwest and I had seen sea otters in the wild there. I thought they were pretty cute and amusing, but the set up at the zoo was spectacular and there were so many of them and they were incredibly active. It was like watching a live action cartoon. I think we spent a half hour just watching them and laughing. As fun as the otters were, I kept looking over at Kevin because the pure happiness on his face choked me up. I wished his mom could be with us to see this. So, I took out my phone and shot a quick surprise picture of Kevin and sent it to Terri.

All of a sudden Kevin’s eyes opened wide and he said, “Carrie, I’ve got to get to the bathroom fast!”

I began rolling him in the direction of the nearest restroom immediately. As we walked I asked him, “Do you feel okay?”

“Yeah,” he replied, “I just like all of a sudden felt an incredible need to go to the bathroom.”

“Pee or poop?” I asked.

“Pee.” he said

So, it wasn’t the celiac acting up, that was a relief. But I was puzzled, because Kevin never had accidents during the day.

“You didn’t know you need to go?” I asked him.

“No…could you just hurry? Please!”

“Sure, sure,” I said.

We got to the restroom which had a family bathroom and I rolled Kevin in and bent over to take him out of the stroller. When I saw tears rolling down his face. “We’re too late,” he whispered.

“Oh, sweetie, don’t cry. These things happen.” I said as I took him out of the stroller and put sat him up on the changing station. He was sobbing by now so I let him sit there for a minute and rubbed his back. I kissed him on the top of his head and just kept saying. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” until he calmed down.

When he was calm, I said, “What’s the matter, darling? I thought you liked pretending to be a little boy.”

His voice caught in his throat. “I liked pretending. This was real. I didn’t know I needed to go until it was too late. I’m not a baby. I’m not!” and the tears began again.

“I know, I know.” I said as I went back to rubbing his back. “I don’t know what happened just now. But I know you’re not a baby.”

He had calmed down considerable by now. So I smiled at him and said, “Now that we’ve established that you’re not a baby. Can I change your diaper?”

He giggled just a little at that and lay down on the changing station.

Chapter 29
Kevin lay pretty still while I changed him. I could see he had a thoughtful look on his face as I was taking care of him. I said to him, “Kevin, honey, you know we don’t have to keep doing this. When we get home, we can go back to you wearing boxers in the day. Think about what you want to do. I don’t need an answer until later.”

“Okay,” was all that he said in reply.

I noticed that the last diaper had leaked quite a bit in the back. I guess he released so much so quickly that it couldn’t absorb it all. Anybody who has taken care of babies would recognize the two semi-circles of wet on the just where his thighs meet his bottom. So after I put the clean diaper on him, I said, “I think you need a clean pair of shorts too.”

Kevin blushed and said, “Really? What are we going to do?”

“Relax. I’m like a boy scout, always prepared.” I went into my bag and got out the change of clothes I had brought along. I took the wet shorts over to the sink. “Let me give these a rinse before I put them in my bag. I don’t want to smell pee-pee later.” I told Kevin. I rinsed the shorts and wrung them out and before putting them in the waterproof compartment.

I finished up with Kevin and said, “All set. Where to now?”

“Could we go back to the sea otters for a bit?” he asked.

“If you like. But only for a bit. There is a lot more for us to see and the zoo closes in about two hours.”

“We could come back another time if we don’t see everything. Couldn’t we?”

“Sure we could.” I said and I lowered Kevin into the stroller and buckled him in.

When we got to the sea otters, Kevin watched them for a couple of minutes and it was clear that he was enjoying himself, but then he said. “Could we look at the gift shop?” The zoo, taking a cue from Disney had put little satellite gift shops next to most of their major attractions. This one was a bunch of rolling carts under an awning. It looked like they could easily put the whole thing away at night or if the weather got bad. I said, “Why not?”

I rolled Kevin into the middle of the carts and I asked him, “See anything you like?” He kept looking at a shelf with plush otters, but tried not to be obvious about it. I could tell he really wanted one but I think he was embarrassed to want a stuffed animal at his age. “Not really,” he said, “besides, I didn’t bring any money with me. We can go.”

“Oh,” I said. “Mind if I look around for a bit?”

“I guess not.”

I strolled around nonchalantly and went over to the shelf with the otters. “These are cute, don’t you think?” I said.

He glanced over and said, “I guess,” and then looked away again.

I held one up and said, “I think this one needs a friend.” I walked up to the cashier and took out my wallet and paid for it with cash. Kevin was watching the whole time and he looked a bit envious.

I put the otter in Kevin’s lap and said, “I think he likes you. Will you look after him for me?…What do you want to name him?”

Kevin’s eyes lit up like a little kid’s on Christmas morning. “Really? He’s for me?” Then he was quiet for a moment and said, “I saw you paid cash, that’s your own money…You didn’t have to do that…”

I cut him off. “Shhh. Look, Kevin, I wanted to…Now what do you say???” I asked the way you’d ask a little kid.

He smiled, “Thank you, Carrie” he said in a sing-song voice.

As I began pushing Kevin away from the gift shop. I asked, “So what are you going to call him?”

He thought for a moment, “Emmett. Definitely Emmett.”

“Good choice… But, if you show him to my middle brother, you might want to keep that to yourself. That’s his name too.”

“Oh. I don’t think he needs to know about any of this.”

We went around the zoo for the next hour and a half. We didn’t see half of what they had and we agreed to come back again after we got back from Cape Cod. The way Kevin was smiling and pointing things out to Emmett, I could tell he was having a good time and his melt down earlier in the day was fading from his memory.

I could also tell that people looked at him, the little boy in the stroller being pushed around by his, what? sister, babysitter, while he played with his stuffed animal and thought it was perfectly normal. I had an adorable little boy with me who was as happy as could be. Older girls would wave their fingers at him and giggle a little and go “awe” when he waved back. Adult woman looked at him and then at me, nodded at me and smiled. I could definitely get used to this.

The announcement came that the zoo was closing for the day, so we moved for the exit. I told Kevin we’d stop for dinner on the way home and asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom before we got on the road. He didn’t think he needed to so we headed for the parking lot and in a matter of minutes we were on our way.

Once we were in the car, I felt free to talk openly to Kevin.

“So Kevin,” I started.

“So Carrie,” he replied in an almost perfect imitation of my voice…

“Wise guy. I didn’t know that you did impressions.”

“I don’t,” he said, “you sound like a little boy,” he laughed.

“Or you sound like a girl.” I said back.

“Ouch. Touche.” he said with a laugh.

“Really Kevin, we need to talk about things.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Do you want to keep doing the babying thing? It’s entirely your call.”

“What do you think?” He asked.

“I told you it’s your call. But, I’ll say this, whatever you decide, I think when we go to Cape Cod, you should go back to wearing undies, at least in public.”

He shrugged his shoulder and nodded his head in agreement. “Yeah, me too.”

He scrunched up his face a bit, I had noticed he did this when he was thinking, and he was quiet for a little while.

“Do you mind taking care of me…you know the diapers and all that?” he asked.

“What?…No, not at all. To be honest it’s been kind of fun.” I replied.

“It’s been kind of fun for me too,” he said.

“So what do you want to do? We could keep using the diapers or we could have you wear pull-ups, or we could bag the whole thing.”

He was quiet for a few moments and then I said, “You want to keep wearing the Pampers, don’t you?”

He had a couple of tears running down his face, and he nodded his head up and down.

“Okay, then. Pampers it is.”

“Thank you,” he said softly. “I really like the way you take care of me… I always wanted a big sister.”

I smiled over at him and said, “You’re the best baby brother I ever had.”

(I should point out that Mikey, my younger brother, is only four years younger than I am and I never thought of him as a “baby brother.” He was more of a playmate growing up, of course he did need night time protection until he was twelve but I never thought of him as being a baby because of it.)

After we were on the road for about an hour, I said, “We should think about getting dinner.”

“Yeah, I’m getting hungry.” Kevin said. We had been nibbling on the snack I bought all day, but we finished that up a few hours earlier and frankly, they weren’t all that satisfying.

“Take out my Iphone,” I told Kevin. “I got an app that tells us where there are restaurants with gluten free offerings nearby.”

“Cool, I didn’t know that was out there.” We found a place nearby that did gluten free Mexican food.

“Ever have it?” I asked.

“Nope. Want to give it a shot?”

“Only live once,” I said and we headed of the parkway for the restaurant.

When we arrived at the door, the hostess looked at Kevin and said to me, “Does your little boy need a booster seat?”

I was feeling a little wicked, so I said, “Yes, please. And I forget to bring a bib, you don’t have any, do you?”

“Oh sure. We have a couple of house specialties that are messy so we have a big supply of them.”

“Great!” I said. Kevin shot me a dirty look, but I could tell he was kidding.

She led us over to our table and I lifted Kevin from his stroller and put him in his booster seat. The waitress came over with a disposable plastic bib and children’s menu and package of four crayons for Kevin.

“Comfy?” I asked when she moved away.

“Yeah, this actually isn’t too bad. I’m like the right height for the table now.”

“Maybe you needed a booster all along.”

Kevin cringed a bit. “Wow, I don’t want to think about it.”

The waitress came back with our orders. I ordered for both of us. Kevin wanted gluten-free chicken quesadillas and a glass of lemonade and I was having enchiladas and a diet cola. When I said what Kevin wanted, the waitress asked, “Do you want that off the children’s menu?”

“Ah, no, whatever he doesn’t eat we’ll bring home for lunch.”

“Good call,” she said, “the adult portion is the better buy and I always find it to be enough for two meals. Do you have a sippy cup you want to use for his lemonade?”

“Oooh, no.” I said.

“No problem, we’ve got really cute kiddie cups. I think he’ll like the one we have tonight. I only ask because some little guys want to use their own cups, and get fussy when they don’t get it.” Then she turned to Kevin and rubbed his hair saying in babytalk, “But I bet a little cutie like you never gets fussy, do you?”

Kevin had the good grace to sit there and take it. When she left, he said, “I should have bit her.”

“Be nice,” I said. I picked up a crayon and drew a tic-tac-toe board. “Wanna play?”

“Okay,” he said.

We played about 8 games and got board. They were all draws. Then we began a game of “Dots and Boxes” that we never finished before the waitress came with our food and drinks. “Should have started with that.” Kevin grumbled. (He was winning.)

The waitress put our food down and said to me, “Can I do his bib for you?”

“Yes, please.” I said with a smile.

She picked up the bib and opened it with a flourish and walked behind Kevin and said, “We don’t want to get such a handsome young man all mess, do we? No, We don’t” She tied it around Kevin’s neck and asked him if it felt okay.

He looked up at me with murder in his eyes but smiled up at her and nodded his head up and down. “Such a little cutie,” she said. “I’ll bring you some wet naps to clean up his hands after he eats. This could be messy for him.”

After she left, he looked at me and said, “You’re evil.”

“Maybe a little. But I’m fun to be around.” And we both laughed.

Chapter 30
Kevin and I sat and ate are meals quietly for a little while. Then I said to Kevin, “Are you looking forward to going to Cape Cod with me?”

“I guess,” he said.

“What’s the matter? Getting cold feet?”

“Maybe…a little.”

“What’s the matter, buddy?”

“I don’t know…What’s everybody going to think of me?”

“Well, I think they are going think you’re a great guy.”

He smiled a bit at that then said, “Yeah,…thanks…but, you know, about the other stuff.”

“Oh, nobody needs to know about that,” then I added, “I spoke to my mom and dad about you.”

“What’d you tell them?” he asked, looking nervous.

“I wasn’t sure about, you know, what we’ve been doing and remember, my mom’s a pediatrician and my dad’s a psychiatrist, I wasn’t gossiping. I wan’t to see what they thought.”

“Oh…what did they say?”

“That it sounded unusual but if you were okay with it, they didn’t see any problem.”

"Unusual? They didn’t say weird did they?

“No,” I chuckled at this, “just unusual. They know you’ve had a stressful time and my dad said he’d heard of similar therapy being used, but in a different context.”

“Oh. I guess that’s okay.”

“You’re going to love them,” I said.

“Really? What are they like?”

“Mom and dad are the best,” I said, warming to the subject. “My mom’s a little like your mom, little but feisty,” I said and got out my Iphone to show him a picture of my mom and dad and me.

“She’s pretty, like you.” Kevin said, “but she looks kind of short.”

“She is, Dad calls her his wee leprechaun. I get my height from him.”

“You’re not that tall.” Kevin said.

“Neither’s Dad.” I laughed.

“He looks serious.”

“Yeah, he does in this picture. But he was actually clowning around in it. You can’t tell from the picture, but he’s got a great smile and is always cracking jokes. He’s also the kindest person I’ve ever met. You’ll really like both of them and they love kids.”

"Okay,"he smiled. “Who else is going to be there?”

“Well, all of my brothers and sisters and their families.”

“You’ve got six?”

“No, I’m one of six. Fifth of six I guess. There’s Aidan, we call him Danny, he’s the oldest and he’s the doctor who’s going to check out your sprains. He’s married to Michelle and they’ve got three children, all under seven years old.”

“You made a face when you mentioned Michelle. Don’t you like her?”

“You noticed, huh? No, not so much. She’s…difficult. I don’t want to prejudice you against her.”

“Right, who else?”

“Well next is Emmett, he and Abby have twins, a boy and a girl who are five years old and Abby’s expecting their third and fourth kids.”

“She’s pregnant with twins?”

“Yeah, it runs in the family. It’s a good thing Emmett’s an Ob/Gyn.”

“Yeah, I guess if you’re gonna have big families.”

Then there are my two sisters. “Tara is next, she’s a doctor too, but she’s staying at home to raise her sons. They are almost three. Here’s a picture from last Halloween? Aren’t they cute?”

“She married?”

“Oh yeah, of course, her husband is Scot. He’s a lawyer.”

“After her is Erin. She’s in law school. She’s only two years older than me.”

“She married?”

“No, but I think she’s getting serious, we’ll see. And then there’s Mikey. He’s the guy at Annapolis that you want to meet and he’s not married either.”

“So what’s that your mom and dad, plus the six of you, three spouses and seven kids, plus me that’s 17…big party.”

I laughed, “You don’t know the half of it. This is a reunion of my dad’s brothers and their families and he’s the oldest of seven boys. We’ve had over a hundred people at this thing.”

“Wow…I kind of wish I had a big family.”

“Well, for the week, you’re cousin Kevin. Mom and I talked, we’re going to say your one of the cousins from her side of the family. We’ve had some of them at the reunion before, but people on Dad’s side don’t really know mom’s side all that well. You’re going to call my mom Aunt Maggie and my dad Uncle Mike. As far as anyone is concerned you’re part of the family.”

Kevin smiled at this.

I looked him in the eye and said, “How old do you want to be next week?”

“Huh?” he asked puzzled.

“Well, look, nobody there is going to know who you are. We could say you’re your real age, 15 or we could say your 10 or 8 or 7. Who’d know? We could keep your little holiday from maturity going next week.”

“Gee, I don’t know. It’s an interesting idea.”

“Well, think about it.” I said as the waitress returned.

She looked at Kevin’s plate and my plate, we’d both finished about half of our very generous servings. She said to Kevin, “Wow, you’re a good eater!” and then to me, “Do you want to take the rest home with you?” She looked at me for the answer.

I said, “Yes please, you can put both together in the same plate. I think it’ll be nice for lunch tomorrow.”

“Definitely,” she said, “these dishes are really better the second day. Just be careful not to over do it when you heat it up.”

She picked up our plates and handed them to the bus boy. She then walked behind Kevin and said, “Let’s get that bib off. You were very neat eating. I’m really impressed. I’ve seen big boys eat this and get way messier than you did…” as she was saying this, she had the bib off and was putting it in the bus tray. Kevin shot me a dirty look and rolled his eyes and I stuck my tongue out at him. She was still talking as she stepped up to him with the handy wipes and cleaned his hands and wiped around his mouth, “but nobody’s perfect. I think the bib saved your shirt. Now, how about dessert?”

Kevin had a look of total indignation when she was finished, but she didn’t seem to notice or if she did, she didn’t care. “What do you have that’s gluten free?” I asked before Kevin could speak up.

“Well we’ve got ice cream and we’ve got a flourless chocolate lava cake and we’ve got a raspberry vanilla creme brule that we do tableside.”

I looked at Kevin and said, “Ever have creme brule?”

“No, what is it?”

“You’ll like it, plus it’s cool to watch…Two creme brules, please.”

“Great choice. I’ll just be minute and then I’ll be back with the blowtorch.” She said and winked at Kevin.

“Blowtorch? Is she serious?” he asked me.

“Wait and see.”

“Okay…What are we going to do tomorrow?”

“Wait and see.” I said again and Kevin rolled his eyes.

Chapter 31
We got home just after dark and I could tell Kevin was getting sleepy. When we pulled into the garage, I said to him, “Did you have a good day?” “Um” was the only response I got at first. Then he said, “Yeah. I had a great day. Thanks for everything.” I thought, despite the problems this was a pretty good day. He got a trip to the zpo, a new friend in Emmett the Otter, and a new favorite dessert.

I carried him into the house and put him down on the sofa in the living room and I told him, I’d be right back.

I went out to the car and got my bag, but I left the stroller in the trunk. When I came back in, Kevin had curled up on the couch and fallen asleep with Emmett cuddled to his chest and his thumb was back in his mouth. I let him sleep for a while and went to his room to get his dirty clothes, I hadn’t done any laundry yet and this seemed like a good time. I came back to the sleeping Kevin and very gently stretched him out on the couch. I undid his shorts and slipped them down his legs. I felt his diaper, it was pretty wet already. It didn’t feel that way when I carried him in. Then I began to remove his shirt and he woke up.

“Hey, Carrie.” he said groggily.

“Hey yourself,” I said back.

“I don’t feel so good.” he said.

“What’s the matter buddy? Is it your tummy?”

“Headache,” he said.

I leaned down and pressed my lips on his forehead to see if he had a fever. My mom used to do this when I was little and she’d tell her patients’ moms that, “you need a thermometer to find out what a child’s temperature is, but you can get a feel if he has a fever or not by kissing him on the forehead. Plus, it makes them feel better if you kiss them.” His forehead was cool to the touch, so he didn’t have a fever. “I bet you’re a bit dehydrated.” I said, “We really didn’t drink enough today. I’ll get you some Advil and some pedialyte and you’ll be better in no time.”

“I’ll wet the bed if I drink now,” he whispered.

“You’ll wet anyway,” I whispered back.

“Yeah, I’ll wet anyway,” he giggled.

I went to the fridge and got the pedialyte and then into the cabinet in the desk where Terri kept the over the counter meds. I dropped down on the couch next to Kevin and said, “Let’s sit up pal.” He sat up and I put my arm over his shoulder. I gave him the Children’s Advil and the bottle of pedialyte. We sat together for a while as he drank. I flipped on the TV and found the Disney Channel. We watched an episode of Phineas and Ferb which we both were laughing at.

He snuggled into me as we watched and I noticed that when he finished his drink he dropped the bottle and began sucking his thumb. Slowly he nodded off again. The shirt will have to wait until morning. I didn’t think the diaper would survive another wetting. I delicately picked Kevin up and walked upstairs with him and put him on his bed. As I have done before, I slipped the pad under him and undid his diaper. I got him cleaned and changed and tucked into bed without waking him up. (Maybe the Advil helped.) I went downstairs and started the laundry. Then I grabbed Emmett and brought him to Kevin’s room. I slipped him under Kevin’s arm, kissed him (Kevin, not Emmett) and went into my own room for a good night’s sleep. Then I had a thought and before I climbed into bed, I went online and ordered some supplies from the pharmacy to be delivered first thing in the morning.

The next morning, I got up as usual, went for a jog on Terri’s treadmill, took advantage of the whirlpool in Terri’s bathroom and got dressed. Today was going to be a day around the house, so I put on my swimsuit as underwear, a pair of Keds, my white yoga pants (I’m like Terri, I don’t do yoga, but the accessories are really useful) and a tee-shirt. I Pulled my hair back into a pony tail and slipped scrunchy on it. I sat down in the kitchen with a cup of fresh brewed French roast coffee and waited for the delivery to come. 9:30, right on time, the doorbell rang and the delivery boy dropped off two discretely wrapped packages which I quickly unwrapped. When I was all set, I went to look in on my little friend.

He was lying on his tummy with his diapered bottom up in the air. His thumb was in his mouth and there was drool on his pillow. I took out my Iphone and snapped a quick picture and sent it to Terri. I got a reply almost immediately, just five digits long. “Aww!!” and then about a minute later, “That’s my boy. Such a cutie. Look in the baby book in the den. There’s a pic just like it from when he was 2.” I figured I could do that later.

I put my hand on Kevin bottom. He was soaked and the diaper had leaked just a little. I patted him on his back and said, “Time to get up, buddy.”

He woke up suddenly, “How’d I get here?” he asked somewhat disoriented.

“I carried you up here last night after you fell asleep. Don’t you remember?”

“No. Not at all.”

“It’s okay, you seemed pretty beat” I said. “How’s your head feel?”

He shrugged, “fine I guess. Why?”

“You weren’t feeling well when I put you to bed last night. We need to get you cleaned up and dressed.” He reached up and I leaned down for him to wrap his arms around my neck and then I swooped him up and carried him into the bathroom.

Once again, the pad went down and I began our ritual, but this time I said, “Kevin, um, I think I need to help you with your bath this time.”

“What? How come?”

“The first time I changed you yesterday, I noticed that you didn’t do a very good job with some of the parts you can’t reach. If you’re in a shower the running water takes care of it for you, but in the tub, you have to do it all, um, manually. Not your fault at all, but we can’t have it.”

“I’ll try harder,” he said.

“Kevin, sweetie, I’m sure you tried your best yesterday, some parts are too hard for you to reach, especially with a bad wrist. I promise you, it won’t be that bad…Okay?”

“Okay,” he mumbled.

“Just be a sec.” I said and stepped into my room and pulled off my Keds, my yoga pants, and my tee-shirt and emerged wearing my swimsuit. (It was one piece from when I was a lifeguard the previous year.)

“What’s up with the bathing suit?” Kevin asked.

“I’m not getting my clothes soaked.”

“I bet you’d look good in a bikini.”

“I bet you’re right, but you’ll have to wait until we get to the beach to find out for sure.”

I filled the tub, tested the water and when it seemed good, I went back to Kevin and removed his diaper and carried him to the tub. I eased him into it and said, “Okay, you get started, and I’ll finish up with the parts you can’t reach.”

Kevin looked kind of shy and embarrassed during this, which I thought was pretty funny considering all that I’d been doing with him the last few days. But, nobody every said that little boys are rational.

While he was washing himself, I chatted with him about TV and movies and books he liked. I looked at the wall over his head most of the time, which I think made him a bit more comfortable. Then he said, “I think I got everything I can.”

“Okay, let me see.” I said as I walked up to him “Not bad, not bad. Let’s see about your back.” And then he splashed me, soaking the front of my swimsuit and he burst into giggles.

“Why you little…” I said and I began to tickle him. By the time the splashing and the tickling had finished, I was soaked, the bathroom was a mess, and Kevin was exhausted. “Somebody deserves a smacked bottom!” I said.

Kevin stuck out his tongue at me and with both started laughing again.

I soaped up the wash cloth and cleaned the back of his neck and then down his back. Then I said, “Let’s take care of your hiney, okay?” I took the wash cloth and soaped it up and cleaned his backside. He was the brightest shade of red I think I’ve ever seen on a human being. “There,” I said, “all better. I think we need to do your hair, too.”

When we were done and I had Kevin dried and in a clean diaper, I said, “we’re staying in today. I think you’ll be alright with just a tee-shirt on over your diaper.”

Kevin looked at me for a moment and then shrugged and said, “Okay…I’m hungry, can we eat?”

“Sure thing,” I responded, “just let me get this mess cleaned up and I’ll take you down for breakfast…and a surprise.”

Chapter 32
After cleaning things up I brought Kevin down to the kitchen and sat him on a stool at the breakfast bar.

“How would you like chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast?” I asked.

“Ooo, that sounds good. Mom never makes pancakes, she says she can’t do it without burning them.”

“Well, I’m an expert pancake flipper. I’ve never burnt one in my life. Plus, I have a new gluten free pancake recipe that is supposed to be delicious. So what do you say?”

“Yes, please.”

“You have to help though.”

“Okay, what do I have to do?”

Making pancakes from scratch really isn’t that much work, especially when it’s only for two, but I wanted to get Kevin involved, so I said, “I’ll get the ingredients together, but you have to help with the measuring and stirring.”

“Sounds easy enough.”

“It should be,” I said.

I went into the pantry and got together the supplies we needed. (The recipe is a secret, so, I’m not sharing it. But, it’s basically my mom’s using gluten free flour.) I got a mixing bowl and the measuring cups and spoons and put them all in front of Kevin. Then, I went and got two aprons from the pantry, nothing fancy or feminine, just what you’d expect to see a cook wearing who was serious about her business. I put one on myself, then I went around and put the second on Kevin.

I gave Kevin instructions about how much to measure, how to stir it together and when it was done, I could see the apron had been a good idea. Kevin was a mess.

“How’d you manage to get so much flour on you?” I asked.

“Lucky, I guess,” he answered smiling.

“I better get you cleaned up before you spread the flour all over the house. And stop eating the chocolate chips!”

I went over to him and took off the apron, careful to fold it up into itself. Then I got a wash cloth and wiped off Kevin’s face and hands. When he was reasonably clean, I shook my head and said, “What were like as a real baby?”

“Mom says I was like Pigpen from Peanuts, but I never knew what she was talking about.”

“We’ll have to do something about that!” I said. I decided to check Netflix after breakfast for Peanuts cartoons.

I got some syrup out of the fridge and put it in a little sauce pan to warm it up and then I began making the pancakes. I am an excellent cook and I have never burned a pancake and this time was no different. In no time, I had two nice size stacks of golden brown chocolate chip pancakes.

“I’m not cleaning you up again.” I told Kevin, “at least not so soon. Sit still a second.”

I went back into the pantry and into the supplies that had been delivered that morning. I walked behind Kevin and slipped a brand new, baby blue bib around his neck. It had a plain blue terry cloth front and a vinyl back. It was the least babyish bib that the drug store carried. I think it was actually meant for elderly people.

“What’s this? I don’t need this!” he whimpered.

“I think you do.” I said, “and I’m in charge, so you’re going to wear it. So don’t be such a baby about it.”

He snorted at that and said, “Fine.” Kevin has a fine sense of irony for an almost high school freshman.

I poured the syrup into a little pitcher and set it on the counter and the brought over the pancakes. Kevin poured way more syrup on his than he needed making it very sloppy. Kevin was having trouble feeding himself so I took my fork and knife and cut into Kevin’s stack. I mopped up some more syrup and brought my fork towards Kevin’s mouth. “Open Wide!” I said smiling.

He smiled back at me and then shut his mouth and crossed his arms, shaking his head.

“No?” I said and popped the fork into my mouth. “Mmm, yummy. Too bad Kevin doesn’t want any.”

I cut into it again and brought it back to his mouth, this time, he opened up and let me put the pancake in his mouth. There was so much syrup on it that it dripped down his chin and onto his bib. I put kept doing this until Kevin’s stack was about half finished. I cut the rest into little pieces for him and said, “Can you take it from here?” He nodded, so I started working on my own.

A couple of minutes later, Kevin said, “Carrie, could you help me get cleaned up.”

“Give me a minute.” I said, “I want to finish this before it gets cold.”

“Carrie, please. It feels all sticky and gross.”

“That’s what you get for using so much syrup.” I chided.


“Would you let me eat in peace?” I said.

“C’mon, now you’re just being mean.”

“Fine.” I put down my fork and got some wipes. I held his chin and wiped his face then I took his hands in mine and cleaned them up too.

“There, little Kevin is all clean and my pancakes are cold.” I said a bit exasperated.

He looked a bit ashamed and stared down at the floor. “I’m sorry,” he said and I could tell that he meant it.

“It’s okay, pal.” I said with a sigh and I reached over and stroked his hair. My hand came away sticky. “Yuck! How’d you get syrup in your hair?”

Chapter 33

The rest of the morning was pretty mellow. Kevin was kind of subdued and so was I. I think Kevin saw that he had been acting like a bit of a brat and I knew that I had been kind of snippy with him. I tidied up the kitchen while Kevin watched TV. I looked out at him a couple of times and saw that he was sucking on his thumb again and looking thoughtful. He was so cute. It’s funny, I’d much rather see a happy little kid, but there is something adorable about a sad little boy. I figured we ought to make peace.

I went back and got a pacifier and bottle that had been delivered that morning. I gave both of them a good rinse and then filled the bottle with some milk and popped it in the fridge and dropped the binky into the pocket of the apron I had on. I walked over the Kevin and dropped down on the couch next to him and draped my arm over his shoulder.

“Hi, buddy.” I said.

“Hi.” he said back as he snuggled into me. “I’m sorry about before.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“I’m not sure I want to play baby anymore. It’s fun, but I think it’s making me selfish and bratty.”

“I don’t think so. I think you’re a sweetheart. I was kind of grumpy this morning. It shouldn’t have happened the way it did. Besides, I am having fun, too.”

“So, what do you want to do now?”

“Well, I told your mom I’d take care of cleaning things up this week, so I’ve got some work to do.”

“What about the service?” Kevin asked.

“Your mom got a call that the service was short handed this week and couldn’t send anyone. So I said I’d take care of it. It’s just a little vacuuming and dusting.” I actually like cleaning, in moderation. I enjoy the quiet and the time it gives me to be alone with my thoughts.

“I’d help if I could.” Kevin said.

“I know. You’ve got one of the cleanest rooms I’ve ever seen, at least for a teenage boy.”

“I don’t like things messy.”

“Really?” I smirked. “How about your pants?”

“Funny.” Kevin responded. “I’ve got to go, now that you mention it. Could you help me out?”

“Your wish is my command.” I said as I picked him up.

I brought him to the bathroom and we went through our usual routine of my taking of his diaper for him and settling him on the throne. I went out of the bathroom while he was taking care of things and looked around to see if there was any other laundry that needed doing. While I was down the hall, I heard Kevin shout, “Carrie, could you bring some more toilet paper. We’re out.”

“Sure.” I yelled back and stopped in the linen closet where Terri kept the bathroom supplies. Then I had a thought and grabbed the package of wipes I had in my diaper bag. When I came into the bathroom, Kevin was waiting for the toilet paper and he looked a little impatient.

“Thanks,” he said as he reached for the roll of paper.

“Not so fast.” I said. “You haven’t been doing a really good job keeping clean lately.”

“I know,” he kind of whined, “it’s not my fault. I can’t get the hang of doing it lefty.”

“I figured as much. So, I’ll take care of you.”

Kevin began to blush furiously and was about to say something when I took out the pacifier and popped it in his mouth. Interestingly it lived up to its name and pacified him. He looked kind of surprised by it but then began sucking on it.

“Why don’t you work on that while I take care of your other end? Now, lean forward.” I took out a couple of wipes and gave him a good cleaning. I tossed the wipes in the trash and then picked Kevin up and re-diapered him.

As I was carrying him on my hip back to the couch I asked him, “Do you like the binky?”

Kevin just nodded, but his eyes were smiling. “Good,” I said and gave him a kiss on his forehead.

When we were back in the living room and he was settled back on the couch, I said to Kevin. “I’ll make you a deal. If you keep on sucking on the binky and I don’t hear from you until after I’m done cleaning, I’ll have a special treat for you tomorrow. What do you say?”

Kevin nodded again and looked a little excited about the prospect of a surprise treat.

“Great,” I said, “now, what do you want to do?”

He looked at suspiciously.

“What?” I asked, then I realized, “Oh, this isn’t a trick. Quiet time will start after I get going with the cleaning.”

Kevin thought for a few seconds and then smiled. He took out the pacifier and said, “Could you go up to the attic again and get my Matchbox cars?”

“Sure, why not?” I replied and headed for the attic stairs.

I found the matchbox cars easily enough, like I said before everything was labeled, but I also spent a couple of minutes getting out Kevin’s baby book and photo albums. I also opened up a carton that said, “Kevin’s Old Clothes.” I found some interesting garments in their that looked like they’d fit my little man. I grabbed that too.

“What’s taking so long, are you okay?” Kevin called.

“Nothing, just having a look around.” I called back. I put the books and the clothes in my room for future examination and brought the box with the toy cars down to Kevin.

“Sweet!” he said. “Thanks for doing this. One thing that I really don’t like about growing up is putting my old toys aside.”

“Ever see Toy Story 3?” I asked.


“Really?!?” I said surprised.

“I guess I missed it.” he said.

“We’ll have to fix that!” I said. I put the bin with the cars in front of Kevin and walked into the kitchen.

I returned with the baby bottle of milk and a package of animal crackers and put them on the coffee table. “Here’s the deal,” I said. “I don’t want to hear from you unless you need to go to the bathroom or if there is an emergency, until I’m done working. You’ve got the TV, you’ve got your toys, and you’ve got a snack. You should be good for at least an hour and a half. Okay?”

“Okay…” then Kevin noticed the bottle. “A bottle? Do I have to?”

“No, but I thought it would be the best way to make sure you don’t spill anything. Plus, it’s a special thermal bottle that will keep the milk nice and cold for you.”

“Okay, I guess,” he said back. He sounded sad, but there was an interesting look on his face.

I popped the pacifier back in his mouth. Gave him a kiss on his forehead and a pat on his backside and then set to work.

Ch. 34

I went back upstairs and got the cleaning supplies out of the linen closet. I started by vacuuming the hallway, but I found I kept glancing into my room at the things I brought down from the attic. I finished the hall and then went into my room and pulled out Kevin’s baby book. The book told me a lot of stuff about Kevin’s birth that Terri had already told me. That he was a preemie, that only weighed about 4 and a half pounds at birth. Then there were pictures of him in the incubator at the hospital that nearly broke my heart and the a picture of his mom and dad taking him home. This was the first time I’d seen a picture of Kevin’s dad, he was very handsome and he and Terri seemed so happy. There were pictures of his christening, he looked about the size of a baby doll, small family though. I saw who is godparents were. I also saw that there were memorial card from their funerals tucked into that page.

I learned he said his first word at nine months, impressive, that he did his first steps at 16 months that was a bit late. So, intellectually he is advanced, physically he’s a bit behind the curve. That made sense. There were pictures of his first and second birthdays, still tiny, but with an intelligent look in his eyes. I thumbed through that for a little while longer then I turned to the photo albums.

I could have spent the whole day looking at them. Kevin and Terri and…, I realized I didn’t know Mr. O’Neil’s first name, anyway, they were a beautiful family that seemed very happy and Kevin was always super cute. I found the picture that Terri told me about and it was almost identical to the picture I sent her that morning. I chuckled a bit at that. Then there were the usual pictures you’d expect to see of a little boy; sitting on Santa’s lap, (I flipped through the years quickly, he had done it every year, right up to last year. I guess being little isn’t all bad.) first day of kindergarten, wearing his Catholic school uniform, Mickey Mouse lunchbox in hand. There were pictures from family parties, gymnastic tournaments, step dancing… Hold on, step dancing? There he was, wearing the traditional boys outfit, white shirt, tie, knee high white socks, and a navy blue, knee length kilt, kicking his legs out. That made me smile. In the next picture, same outfit, blushing and holding a trophy while getting a kiss on the cheek from a very cute little red haired girl in full traditional dress. I’d have to find out more about this.

I noticed that some of the gymnastic outfits he had more in common with the rompers that toddlers wear than they had with the mature outfit Kevin had worn during the exhibition. I looked in the box of old clothes and some of them were in there. I started having some ideas about that.

After about a half hour flipping through pictures and nosing through the box, I figured I’d better get back to the task at hand. I finished cleaning upstairs and then headed down to the main floor. Kevin was seated on the floor in the living room, with his feet stretched out under the coffee table moving his cars through a little playset that looked like a small town. He was totally absorbed. I just don’t get the boys’ fascination with cars, but I had a doll house when I was little and I could spend hours playing with that. (I remember when I was in my teens, I used to love it when my little cousins came over because, I’d sacrifice myself for a couple of hours and play with it with them. Everybody thought I was being the good older cousin, really I just loved the excuse.) Kevin still had the binky in his mouth. The bottle of milk was almost empty and his animal cracker box was lying on its side empty.

I walked over to him and cleared my throat. He looked up and smiled behind his pacifier and waved.

“Hi ya pal. Everything good?” I asked.

He smiled again and gave me a thumbs up.

“Need to go potty?” I asked.

He paused for a second and then nodded.

“You know,” I said, “I didn’t mean for you to be silent when we made our deal. I just wanted some quiet time. You can talk to me.”

He took the pacifier out of his mouth and said, “Oh, I misunderstood the rules…Could you take me to the bathroom?”

“Sure thing.” I said and reached down to pick him up. The I noticed that the front of the diaper was swollen and had a yellow tint to it.

“Uh, Kevin, it looks like you already went.”

“What? No… I…” he looked confused then he put his hand on the front of his diaper and felt it and then he looked worried, even scared and the tears started.

“Didn’t you know you went?” I asked.

He sobbed and shook his head. “I don’t know what happened,” and then the tears really started.

I went down on my knees next to him and put my arms around him. “It’s okay, it’ll be fine, don’t worry.” I said over and over.

Then I said, “Do you still need to go?”

He nodded his head.

“Do you want your pacifier.”

Again a nod. So I slipped the pacifier between his lips and picked him up and brought him to the bathroom.

I decided a call to the doctor was in order.

Re: Summer Nurse

Ch 35.
Once I got Kevin sorted out and in a dry diaper, I settled him on the couch with a fresh bottle and Emmett the Otter. I said, “Why don’t you watch a little TV while I give Doc Tom a call?” He looked up at me and nodded. The tears had stopped by now, but he looked miserable. His eyes were red and puffy and his cheeks had that blotchy blush you see on babies after they’ve had a good cry. I rubbed his back and said, “I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about.”

I went to the phone in Terri’s room because it had all the emergency numbers programmed and because I wanted to be out of earshot of Kevin when I made the call. After the first ring, I heard a cheerful man’s voice say, “Doctor Fisher’s office. The Doctor is in!”

“Hi,” I said, “Is this Doc Tom?”

"It is indeed and based on the caller ID, this must be the lovely and talented Carrie Sullivan and since you didn’t use the emergency number, it can’t be tooooo serious, so, how is our petit pal? " I could picture him smiling as he said this.

I couldn’t help but chuckle a little at this. “Well, that’s why I’m calling,” Then I chuckled again, “Duh” I said, “why else would I call.”

“Tell me oh my mistress of the obvious, what’s up?”

So, I filled him in on what was going on with Kevin, starting with the first time he began to wet unexpectedly. He asked a few questions, but mainly listened.

“Let me pull up his records…Okay,” he said after a moment of silence, “it sounds like he’s got a bit of a bladder infection. He used to get these a lot when he was little…well littler. He probably doesn’t remember them since the last time he was about 8 years old. Does he have a fever?”

“I’m not sure,” I replied, “I felt his forehead yesterday when he was complaining about the headache, but he felt cool.”

“Well, it might be kind of low grade. Tell ya what, check his temp. If he’s got a low grade fever, the bladder infection is probably what it is and I can prescribe some antibiotics which will clear it all up in a couple of days. Call me back when you’ve got his temp, okay?”

“Sure thing, give me a couple of minutes.”

“Oh, before you go, how’s the stress therapy going?”

“The stress therapy?”

“You know, the diapers and stuff.”

“Oh. I didn’t know you knew.”

“Terri told me before she left.”

So, I filled him in. “That sounds like it’s doing what it’s supposed to. It’s a bit unorthodox, but if it works, I’m all for it.”

I went back down to Kevin and said, "I spoke to Doc Tom and he said it sounds like you might have a bit of an infection. But, I’ve got to take your temperature to make sure. Where does your mom keep the thermometer?

Kevin thought for a moment and then said, “She keeps all that kind of stuff in the cabinet above the fridge.”

“Okay, be right back.” I went to the kitchen and pulled over a chair to stand on while I looked in the cabinet. Right in the front was a digital thermometer which I brought over to Kevin.

“Sooo, let’s see.” I said and tried to turn it on…nothing. “Hey, Kev, you know how to work this thing?”

“Let me see…Looks like the battery’s dead. I think we’ve got more in the junk drawer by the phone in the kitchen.”

Off I went again to do some rummaging through the junk drawer. It was a surprisingly neat junk drawer, but there were none of the button type batteries the thermometer used.

“Does your mom have another somewhere.”

Kevin shrugged and said, “Sorry, I really don’t know. Maybe there’s something in one of the boxes upstairs.”

Once again, I went to the attic. Thank God someone is anal about labeling things. I found more boxes of old clothes, winter clothes, baby clothes, toys, books, baby supplies. Nothing that said “medical” or “first aid.” Then I thought, maybe baby supplies and sure enough, there was a thermometer in its case in with the baby monitor and the mobile and other baby stuff.

“Great!” I said out loud to nobody but myself and headed back to Kevin.

I went into the kitchen, gave it a good washing and brought it to Kevin. “Open up!” I said. Then I realized, oops, wrong end.

“Sorry pal, this looks like its a rectal thermometer.”

“So?” he asked.

“It doesn’t go in the mouth.”



“Eww. Really?”

“Sorry. Let me get some vaseline.” I zipped up to the medicine chest and found a jar and a roll of toilet paper and came back down to Kevin.

“Roll over onto your tummy.” I said.

“Is this the only way?” he asked.

“I’m afraid so. Besides, after where it’s been, do you really want it in your mouth?”

“Gross…okay.” he said as he rolled over.

Then I had a thought. “Hang on for a sec.” I said as I dropped down next to him.

“Here, lie over my lap.” When he as in position, I said, “Are you comfortable?”

“I guess,” he replied.

I pulled up his shirt and untaped his diaper folding the back of it away from his hiney. The front of the diaper was still giving me protection in case we had another accident. I poked the thermometer into the jar of vaseline and got a good glob onto it. Then I spread his cheeks and as gently as I could, slipped the thermometer in. Kevin gasped and I could feel his body tense, but then he relaxed.

I held Kevin steady with one hand on his bottom and rubbed his back with the other. I hummed a little tune I remembered my mom humming when I was sick and she was taking care of me, I’ll have to ask what it’s called next time I talk to her. It all seemed to relax Kevin.

When the time was up, I extracted the thermometer and wiped it clean with the toilet paper. 100.0 it read. “Yep,” I said, “you’ve got a fever.” I closed up the diaper and helped Kevin back into a seated position. I went and washed my hands and tossed the toilet paper into the toilet. Then I called Doc Tom back.

“Yeah, that’s what I figured he said…Look, since I’ve got to swing over by your neighborhood this morning anyway, I’ll drop by and double check.”

“Really? You do house calls?” I asked.

“Not usually, but Terri and Kevin are friends. I’ll see you in about 20 minutes. Oh and let Kevin know I know he’s wearing diapers these days. It’ll make this less awkward for us and less work for you.”

And 15 minutes later, Doc Tom was at the door with a medical bag in hand. This time he was wearing Panama hat, a Hawaiian shirt and bright yellow knickers. We exchanged greetings and I think he could tell I was a bit confused. “I have a tee time in a half an hour” he said by way of explanation for his attire.

“Oh,” I said.

“Well, where’s the patient?” I showed him into the living room where Kevin was lying on the couch.

“Hey, my man!” Doc Tom said.

“Hi.” Kevin said back.

“I hear you’re a little under the weather.”

Kevin nodded.

“I think I know what’s bothering you, but I wanted to have a look to be sure.”

“I’ll be right back.” I said as Doc Tom went over to do his examination.

“No, Carrie. Please stay.” He said, “I prefer to have another adult in the room when I do an examination of a child. It’s…well you know, a good policy. Keep it in mind when you have a practice.”

“Gotcha.” I said and had a seat in an armchair across the way.

The exam took less than 10 minutes and when he was done Tom said, “Yeah, it’s what I thought. I’ll call this prescription in to the pharmacy and tell them to deliver it here. You, my friend, should be fine in a couple of days, maybe even by tomorrow. You probably don’t remember this, but this used to happen a lot when you were little.”

He gave Kevin a pat on the head and said his goodbyes and was off.

“See,” I said, “I told you it would be all right.”

Kevin was smiling now. “Thanks for looking out for me,” he said.

“My pleasure. Want to watch TV for a while or do something else?”

“What do you want to do?” He asked in reply.

“Ooo. I get to pick!,” then I thought for a moment and said, “Well, there are some pictures I was wondering about.”

Ch 36

I ran upstairs and got the baby book and the photo albums, then I had an idea, and climbed the stairs for the attic and went through a couple of boxes of Kevin’s things until I found what I was looking for. I slipped everything into a big old dufflebag that was in the attic and went back to Kevin in the living room.

“Okay,” I said, “first I want to get some details about some stuff I saw in the photo albums and then we’re going to play dress up.”

“Oh, come on! I don’t want to play dress up. That’s girly and you promised you wouldn’t ever make me do something embarrassing!” he whined in response.

“First off, you said I get to pick. And I want to play dress up.” I said. I knew I’d get this response. But I thought if he imagined I’d make him wear a dress and makeup, it would be easier to get him to do what I really wanted. Then I added, “And secondly, I always keep my promises. I only want to see you in some of your old clothes. Okay?”

“Well, I guess.”

I sat down on the couch and pulled Kevin up next to me. He cuddled in next to me and I opened the baby book first. “So, tell me who these people are.” After we went through the highlights of that book. I went from there to the photo albums.

“So, Santa?” I asked when I got to the first picture.

“What about him?”

I went through all of the pictures of him on St. Nick’s lap and then got to last years. “Well, what about him?”

Kevin looked a little sheepish and shrugged. “I know about him. Jeez, I’m not a baby. I just always liked the whole Santa and the elves thing and Mom seemed to get a kick out of it…”

“Are you going to do it again this year?”

He blushed a bit and shrugged.

“You are! That is so cute.”

Kevin rolled his eyes and I gave him a little kiss on the top of his head and a little squeeze on his shoulder. “I think that is adorable!” I added.

Then I flipped to the step dancing pictures. “I didn’t know that you did this.”

“Well, I stopped last year when my teacher retired. I’m probably going to start up again once we get settled.”

I smiled at him. He looked a little embarrassed. “It’s great exercise,” he said trying to justify it.

“You don’t have to justify yourself. I think it’s great. All my brothers and sisters and I did step dancing. My grandma insisted. It’s part of your heritage she used to say. I’ll show you some time.”

“Yeah, and it’s a great way to meet girls!” he responded.

I laughed. “Speaking of which, who’s your little friend?” I asked as I flipped to the picture of his dancing partner.

“That’s Moira McDonald. She was my partner when we were little. I think I’m 10 in that picture and she’s about 8. She was really sweet, but we stopped dancing together.”

“How come?” I asked.

“She got bigger than me and it looked funny. Even though I’m two years older than her, it was like she was dancing with her baby brother. She said she wanted me to stay as her partner, but I know she was just being nice…I kind of miss her though.”

“Where is she?” I asked.

“Her mom’s job transferred her up to Toronto when I was in seventh grade. We get Christmas cards from her and her family but that’s about it. Last year’s is probably in here. It’s one of those family picture ones and Mom always keeps those.” He said as he flipped to the back. “Here it is.”

He showed me the picture, it was one of the most beautiful families I’d ever seen. Four girls and a baby boy, each with flaming red hair, wearing Irish knit sweaters and perfect smiles. The oldest girl was about my age. Kevin was pointing to Moira, the youngest girl, she had grown up a lot. She would be gorgeous when she was an adult. He sighed and looked at her wistfully.

“First love.” I thought. Then I said, “maybe we could get in touch with her this summer.”


“Sure. Toronto isn’t that far. Do you have a passport?”


“Well, we’ll talk to your mom about it after Cape Cod. Okay?”

Kevin looked excited and nervous about it and said, “Ah, yeah. O.K.”

“Now,” I said, “time for Dress Up! Right?”

“No makeup?”

I smiled, “Spoil sport…No, no makeup.”

“Okay then.”

“Cool!…First outfit, Kevin the Step dancer!” I said as I pulled his kilt and dancing shoes out of the dufflebag.

He actually smiled at this one.

“Let’s get you out of those clothes first.” I said as I reached over and pulled of his shirt. I tickled him a bit as I did it and he started giggling.

I helped him into the white dress shirt which he buttoned up and I gave him the tie. “A clip on? Really” I asked.

He laughed a bit at that. “Mom said I need to learn how to tie a real one before I start school. Do you know how?”

“Me? No, I’ve never worn one. I’m a girl, remember. One of my brothers or my dad can teach you when we’re on the Cape. I forgot to mention you need a tie in the dining room.”

“I don’t own one yet.”

“That’s okay, we’re going shopping tomorrow to get you some clothes for the trip and to get you that hair cut. We’ll pick up a tie.”

“Oh. Great.”

“Now, let’s get you into your skirt.” I said.

“It’s not a skirt. It’s a kilt!”

“I know, I’m just teasing.” I wrapped the kilt around his waist and fastened its belt. Then I pulled on his socks.

“All set!” I said. “You know, you would have made a very pretty girl.”

“Stop that.” he laughed. “It’s a kilt and kilts are manly. I am not a cross dresser.”

“Right, if you say so. You know. It would be easier for the diaper changes if you wore one of these all the time though.”

“Not happening.”

“Please?” I asked as I started tickling him again.

“No!” he laughed. “Quit it!”

“Fine. You’re no fun. By the way, how is your diaper?” I said as I slipped two fingers into the leg hole.

“It’s fine, but could you take me to the bathroom? I think I need to go.”

After the pitstop it was time for our next outfit. One of the pictures I had seen was of Kevin as the ring bearer at somebody’s wedding. The outfit was a pair of black knee britches, with a black satin sash, patent leather strapped shoes with white stockings, and a cream colored silk shirt. The britches were a tight fit over the diaper, but it worked out.

He was absolutely adorable. “You’re ready for the next royal wedding.” I said.

“Really feel silly.” he said. “Do I have to do more of these.”

“One more and I’ll take you for ice cream.” I said.

“Deal!” he responded.

So, next was the gymnastics singlet that I had seen in the pictures. I thought it looked like a onesie in the picture. In real life, not so much. But the diaper made the butt stick out in a way that made Kevin look like a tall toddler. Cute, but over all, a disappointment.

“Last outfit, time for ice cream!” Kevin cheered.

“Let’s get you into some street clothes, unless you want to wear your ring bearers outfit.”

“No way, I’d rather wear the kilt.” Kevin said.

“Okay,” I responded, “The kilt it is.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Kevin said back.

“I know, just kidding, but think about wearing it around the house. It would make the diaper changes easier.” I said as I picked up a pair of Kevin’s cargo shorts and helping him into them.

“I’ll think about it.”

“Where do you want to go for ice cream?” I asked. He told me the name of a place in the mall.

At that point, the bell rang and when I opened the door, it was the delivery guy from the pharmacy. “Doc Tom called this in, he also asked me to bring over a rental pediatric wheel chair.” He said as he handed me a small bag and pushed a normal looking wheelchair.

When I tipped him and he left, Kevin said, “Great! now we don’t have to worry about running into someone we know when we’re out!”

CH 37
I was mildly confused about the wheel chair. The prescription had a note attached to it that read, in effect, “I heard about the stroller the hospital gave you. I think this might be a bit less embarrassing for Kevin around here.” Doc Tom is a thoughtful guy.

I said to Kevin, “I thought you didn’t mind the stroller.”

“I don’t,” he said, “if nobody is going to recognize me. But around here, I might run into somebody I know or somebody who might remember me when school starts. This is a small town.”

Makes sense, I thought. “Okay,” I said. “It says I’m supposed to give you one of these pills and a full glass of water every two hours. Might as well start now.”

I walked into the kitchen filled up a glass of water and gave Kevin his medicine. He took it like a good boy and I said as much. He rolled his eyes at me for that.

“Let me get my bag and we’ll get you that ice cream I promised.” I said as a ran upstairs to get my bag. I stopped by Kevin’s room and got some supplies - a clean diaper, wipes, and that sort of thing.

I carried Kevin out to the garage and got him situated in the front seat of the car. I swapped out the stroller for the wheel chair and then we were ready to go.

“Did we buy that stroller thingee or is it a rental?” Kevin asked.

“It’s a rental.” I said.

“And you had to assemble it yourself…That sucks.”

“Yep.” I said as I clicked the garage door opener, put the car into gear and pulled out of the driveway.

We drove a couple of blocks and then I said, “So, where are we going?”

“Oh, do you mind if we do frozen yogurt instead of ice cream? Cause if that’s okay, my favorite place is just by the entrance to the mall. They have 18 flavors of yogurt and you self serve and then mix in the topping you want. It’s great.”

“Well, if you feel that strongly about it…I’m cool with it.”

To make small talk, I said, “When do you turn sixteen?”

“Not until October.”

“So, no driving this summer?”

“No…It’s okay though. I’d probably get stopped by the cops for driving without my mommy. I really don’t mind. None of the other freshman would be able to drive, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.”

We pulled into the mall’s parking lot and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it had been the last time we were there. Good thing, because now I had a wheel chair to navigate and a mob would have sucked. I got the wheel chair from the trunk, opened it up and helped Kevin in. I grabbed my bag and slipped over my shoulder. Then I thought again and said, “Here…Carry this on your lap. No one will be able to tell you’re diapered this way.”

“Great camouflage… a diaper bag to hide my diapers,” he said back.

“It doesn’t look like…”

“I know, I know,” he interrupted. “I’m kidding…Thanks for being thoughtful.”

I rolled Kevin into the mall and he directed me to the frozen yogurt shop. It was all funky colors and neon lights. Kind of cool, in its way, I guess. When we crossed the threshold, a girl’s voice cried out. “Oh my God, Kevin! Is that you?” Kevin and I looked over to the source and behind the counter was Ashley Dunn, the girl from Church.

Ashley stepped from behind the counter and walked over to Kevin. She knelt down in front of him and said. “Wow, Kevin! I heard the gymnastics thing. What actually happened? How long are you going to be like this?”

Kevin was blushing furiously and seemed to have lost the ability to talk. So, I spoke for him, “He sprained both ankles and his wrist. The doctor wants him off his feet at least until Tuesday. No crutches because of the wrist, so he’s stuck in the wheel chair.”

“Aw…you poor little guy! I’m so glad it’s not worse,” she said to Kevin with the same sweet/sad smile I’ve seen kindergarten teachers give their charges to console them when they fall down and hurt themselves. Then to me she said, “Wow, I’m being rude. Hi, Carrie. It’s nice to see you!”

“You too, Ashley. How are things?”

“Pretty good…Summer job at Mom’s fro-yo place. Not a bad gig. It’s pretty dead right now, but it’s usually hopping” She chuckled.

Now I could see why this was Kevin’s favorite place. He did have a crush on Ashley. Even if he was going to be embarrassed by it, he was loving her fussing over him.

Then Ashley called out, “Mom, could you come here?”

Ashley’s mom came out of the back room. She was a taller, somewhat heavier version of her daughters. She had a really sweet face though. “What’s the matter sweetheart?” she asked as she stepped behind the counter.

“Kevin O’Neil is here with his cousin.” Ashley replied.

“Oh, Kevin! How are you?”

This time Kevin remembered how to speak and replied, “I’m okay, Mrs. Dunn. Thanks for asking, just sprains, but I’m off my feet until next week.”

“Oh, you poor thing! I was there when you had your accident. I’m so glad it isn’t worse. I think the best thing to get you better is some calcium rich fro-yo. It’s on the house for you both.”

“You don’t have to…” I started to protest.

“No, no. Kevin is such a good influence on my youngest guy, it’s the least I can do…But I don’t think we’ve been introduced. I’m Rita Dunn.” She said as she held out her hand with a big smile.

“I’m Carrie Sullivan. I’m staying with Kevin while his mom is out of town.” I replied smiling as I took her hand in mine.

“Beth Fisher told me about you. You’re off to Med School in the fall. I think Ashley has aspirations in that regard. Maybe the two of you could sit down some time and she could pick your brain.”

I looked over at Ashley who rolled her eyes but smiled. “Be glad to,” I said.

Ashley stood up and said, “Let’s do this. Can I help Kevin get his yogurt?”

“Sure.” I said as Ashley took the handles of the wheel chair and moved Kevin over to the machines. She was whispering something to him and he was shaking with laughter.

Rita called me over so that we were out of earshot and whispered to me, “I think Kevin has a crush on Ashley.”

I chuckled, “Ya think? Is it mutual?”

“Might be. It’s hard to say. She really likes him and knows he’s only a little younger than her, but I think she sees him more like a little boy that needs looking after than a possible boyfriend.”

“I know the feeling.” I whispered back.

“Now, you go help yourself to anything you’d like. Then we can all sit and talk for a while.” Rita said in her normal voice.

Once Ashley, Kevin and I had gotten our treats, Rita joined us at a table.

“Rita,” I started, “where would do you bring your son to get a haircut? Kevin needs one before we head up to Cape Cod on Saturday and he doesn’t have a barber in town yet.”

“Snips and Snails here in the mall. They are great with little boys and they look really cute…er… handsome when they are done.” She responded and glanced over at Kevin who was totally absorbed in Ashley.

“Need an appointment?” I asked.

“Yeah, usually a week in advance. But if you want, I’ll call over for you and get you one tomorrow. It’s a professional courtesy the shop owners here in the mall extend each other.”


“What time?”

“Try for 10, but anytime in the morning will be fine.”

“So you’re going to Cape Cod?” Ashley asked.

“Yeah, my family is having a reunion there. It’s kind of a tradition. Kevin’s coming too.”

“I love the Cape.” Rita said, “But I haven’t been there since Heather was born.”

“Have I been there?” Ashley asked.

“Yes, but not since you were in diapers.” Rita answered.

Ashley blushed a bit and said, “Mother!” But Rita just smiled at her.

I noticed Kevin blush a little, too.

We chatted for a while longer and then some customers started to come into the store. “We’d better be going,” I said, “But, could I return this favor? Would you like to come to our place for dinner tomorrow?”

“My husband and I have an engagement tomorrow,” Rita said, “But the girls can if they want.”

“I’d love to and I’m sure Heather will want to come too. But we can’t leave Mark out. Can we bring him too?”

“Mark?” I asked.

“He’s their little brother and the littlest guy on my gymnastics team.” Kevin replied, then added, “Of course he can. I don’t want to be totally out numbered by girls!”

“Well, it’s settled then! How does six sound?” I asked.

“Sounds good to me,” Ashley said. We said our goodbyes and I began pushing Kevin to the door.

Ashley called out, “Carrie! Come here a sec.” I locked the wheels and said to Kevin “Be right back.”

“What’s up?” I asked

In a very low voice, Ashley said. “I think Kevin’s diaper is wet. You can change him in the family restroom around the corner.”

Re: Summer Nurse

Ch 38
I looked at Ashley for a second with my mouth open and then she said, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell a soul…I babysit a lot and when I was talking to him, I heard a familiar sound.”

“Wow…Okay…” I replied. “Thanks, I’ll take care of it when we get home…But, please…”

She cut me off and said, “Really, don’t worry. I won’t even let Kevin know that I know. But what’s going on?”

“Bladder infection. It seems he gets them on occasion.”

“What are you doing for it?”

“Doc Tom prescribed antibiotics and plenty of water to flush the infection. Well, that and time.”

“Aw, poor little guy,” she whispered. Then loudly she said, “So, it’s agreed then, I’ll bring the dessert.”

“Thanks, that sounds good.” I said out loud and then more softly, “Really, thanks.”

She winked at me as I left and took Kevin to the car. When I was in the parking lot I asked Kevin, “How are you feeling?”

“Fine, why?” he asked.

“How’s the diaper?”

“Hmmm, oh…” he said as he shifted his weight…“Oh God, I wet myself in front of Ashley and I didn’t even know it!”

“Calm down, calm down.” I said, “It’s the infection, you don’t have any control over it.”

“Do you think she noticed?” he asked, panicked.

“I’m sure it’ll be alright.” I responded avoiding the question.

“If she noticed…this is awful. How can I see her tomorrow?”

“Don’t worry.” I said. “Look, it’s obvious she likes you. I don’t think your being sick is going to change that.”

“You think she likes me?” he asked hopefully.

“Yeah, I really do.” I answered truthfully. Although I thought, “But probably not the way you’d like her to.”

“Now, can we get you home so I can change you?” I added

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Doses of medicine with plenty of water, followed by diaper changes; watching TV, playing board games, a simple dinner of soup and salad. More medicine, more water, more diaper changes. Then, just before we went to bed, Kevin asked me to take him to the bathroom so he could pee.

“That’s good sign!” I said cheerfully. “Maybe, you’re getting over the infection.”

“God, I hope so. I would really like to be out of diapers tomorrow when the Dunns come over.”

“I don’t blame you.” I said, “But we’ll have to play it by ear.”

“What do you mean?” Kevin asked.

“Even if you’re not wearing a diaper tomorrow, we should probably go with pull-ups. You know, just in case.”

“I guess you’re right,” he said glumly.

“Come on.” I said, “Let’s get you ready for bed and we’ll see what Frodo, Sam and the boys are up to.”

Chapter 39
The next morning, I got up early like I usually do and gave Terri a call on Skype. Before I went to bed, I sent her an email letting her know what was going on and telling her I’d give her a call around 7:00 my time which was lunch time for her. We chatted a little bit and she said she thought I was handling everything the best way possible. She make a joke that I should be getting combat pay. Before I signed off, she asked me to have Kevin give her a call when he was up and dressed. She wanted to have a chat with him after they had missed each other yesterday. I also saw that I had a text from Mrs. Dunn that she was able to get an 11:00 appointment at “Snips and Snails” for Kevin’s haircut.

Then, I hit the treadmill for about an hour. It is kind of boring compared to running outside, but as long as Kevin is laid up, I guess it’s for the best. I watched the news as I ran. The thing I was most interested in was the weather since we had guests coming that evening and I wanted to eat outside on the patio. It looked clear to me. I finished my run and then straightened up the house. It wasn’t too bad to begin with, actually, but I wanted to put the toys away and I still had the close from yesterday’s “Dress-up” session to get back in the attic.

When everything was away and the house ship shape as my grandfather used to say, I figured I should get Kevin out of bed. I went and filled the bath tub with warm water and then I walked into his room to wake him up. Every time I did this it brought a smile to my face. This time, he had kicked his sheets off and was lying on his tummy with Emmett the otter under his arm and his thumb plunged into his mouth. It has been a hot night so all he went to bed in was his diaper and a tee-shirt. I could see his diaper was totally saturated. I walked over to him and gently placed my hand on his back and gave him a little shake. “Hey buddy, time to get up!” I whispered into his ear.

“Okay, Mommy.” he mumbled back and then rolled over. I felt my heart jump when he said that.

I gave him another minute and said, “C’mon pal, got to get rolling.”

“Huh,…Oh sure…'morning Carrie.” he mumbled as his eyes slowly opened.

“Big day ahead, lets get you cleaned up. Okay?”

By now he was basically conscious and sitting up. He said, “Right, sure…um, I’m pretty wet…”

“No foolin’” I said. “Let’s get you into the bath. But first…” I gave him his morning does of anti-biotics and a glass of water. “Drink it all!” When that was accomplished,
I leaned over and grabbed him under the arms, “Upsy daisy!” I sang as I dropped him on my hip and carried him to the bathroom.

“Now,” I said, “we have an 11:00 appointment for your hair cut so we don’t have a lot of time to waste this morning. Plus, your mom wants you to give her a call after you’ve gotten cleaned up.”

“No problem.” Kevin said as I laid him on the floor and undid his diaper. He sat up and I helped him get his shirt off.

“We need to change these bandages today, I think. They are getting kind of ripe.” I told him.

He just nodded as I lifted him up and lowered him into the tub. “Can you take care of yourself this morning, or do you want some help?” I asked.

“No, I’m good.” he responded.

“In that case, I’m going to get the bandages together. Be right back. Will you be alright?” Part of my training was telling me “never leave a baby alone in the bathtub.” But Kevin isn’t really a baby. In fact, he was certainly old enough and usually mature enough to be a babysitter. So, no problem, I thought. “Call me if you need anything.” I added before I left.

I could feel him rolling his eyes. “Okay, Mommy!” he said sarcastically. My heart didn’t jump quite so much this time. I gave Kevin about 10 minutes and then came back in. “Almost done?” I asked.

“Yeah, but what about my hair?”

“They’ll wash it when you get your haircut.” I told him. “I’ll just comb it neat before we go.”

“Okay. In that case, all done.”

I let the water out of the tub and picked Kevin out, wrapping him in a nice fluffy towel.

“I was thinking, we’ll stick with the Pampers for this morning and maybe by this afternoon when the Dunns are over the infection will be under control and we can switch to pullups. What do you think?” I asked.

Kevin grimaced a bit, but said, “Yeah, that’s probably for the best.” So, I diapered him, re-bandaged his wrist and ankles and got him dressed in a pair of cargo shorts and a polo shirt. I wet comb and did my best with the unruly mop on the top of his head. When I was done, he looked presentable. “All right. You need to call your mom and I need to take my shower.” I told him. I picked him up and carried him to the computer. “I’ll see you in a few.” I said as I left the room.

I got my shower supplies together and my clothes for the day together and then headed down the hall to use the deluxe shower in Terri’s room. Ah, heaven. When I have a house, I’m getting a set up like this even if it means all my furniture comes from Ikea. I finished up and dressed myself in a polo shirt and a pair of capris. I dropped my stuff by my room and then knocked on Kevin’s door.

“Come in.” he said. Kevin was in front of his computer with a headset on smiling and nodding as he spoke with his mom.

“…Okay mom. Love you too. Do you want to say anything to Carrie, she just walked in…Oh, I’ll ask… Carrie do you need to talk to mom?”

“No, I’m good” I said as I leaned down and waved into the camera. Terri waved back with a big smile.

“She says she’s good…love you lots…talk to you soon…bye bye.” He said and ended the connection with a sad little sigh.

I smiled at him and rubbed his back. “Let’s get you breakfast so we can get going to the mall.”

About 15 minutes and a diaper change later (not a good sign) we were on the road to the mall.

When we got there the parking lot was pretty empty. The mall opens at 9:00 for senior citizen walkers and the shops open at 10:00. It was about 10:30 when we got there so most of the action hadn’t started yet. I got the wheelchair out of the car and helped Kevin in. Snips and Snails was on the second floor of that mall’s atrium, right next to the main food court. After some searching we found the elevator and rode up to a part of the mall I hadn’t been in yet. It was kind of cool. It was all kind of upscale shops that would cater to kids - A Build a Bear workshop, Lego store, Pottery Barn for Kids, Gap Kids, Baby Gap and of course, Sugar and Spice girls’ salon and Snips and Snails boys’ barbershop.

It turned out that the salon and the barbershop were the same business. There were separate entrances for the boys and girls and the boys’ side of the shop (kind of a Honey I Shrunk the Kids decor with barber chairs that looked kind of like saddles on the backs of snails) was different from the girls’ side (which was very pink and looked like something out of a Carebears cartoon.) but it was all one big shop. In the middle were some seats around a TV and some kind of cool looking preschool toys. There was also a coffee maker and today’s papers. So, we went in the boys entrance and spoke to the receptionist.

“Hi, I have an 11:00 appointment for Kevin O’Neil for a haircut.” I said

“Oh, hi!” the very bubbly receptionist said back as she looked down the list, “Yep, he’s right here. You’re just a bit early Kevin. Do you guys mind waiting in the waiting area until your barber gets in?”

“No problem.” I said back.

“Sweet. Can I get you some coffee or something?” She said to me.

“Yes, please!” I said realizing I needed some caffeine just then.

“And would Kevin like some milk or apple juice?” She asked Kevin but was looking at me for the response.

“Milk, please.” Kevin said. And I nodded.

“White or chocolate?”

“Oh, Chocolate please” Kevin replied. The young woman looked at me and I nodded again.

“I’ll bring it right over!” she said.

Kevin and I settled into the waiting area which was really very comfortable. The girl brought over our drinks in disposable paper cups and I realized that she couldn’t have been any older than Kevin. So I asked her, “Where do you go to school?”

“Memorial High School,” she said, “I’m a rising sophomore.”

“Yep,” I thought same age as Kevin, could even be younger." “How is it you’re working here.”

“It’s my mom’s place, so we can bend the labor laws a bit….How about Kevin where does he go to school?” She asked me.

“He’s new in town and is starting at St. Albert’s once school begins.”

“Wow, Kevin, I’ll bet you’re excited!”

Kevin looked at her and nodded.

“Bit shy? That’s okay. You are a real cutie. You’re going to be fighting the girls off when you’re older. If you were my age…” she got cut off because the barber had just walked over and said, “Lara, is this my 11:00 appointment?”

We all moved over the first snail and I helped Kevin in. The barber smiled at Kevin and said “Hi, Kevin, I’m Dominic. You’re not afraid are you?…No?…Good…What are we looking for in a haircut?” This last question was directed at me.

I looked at Kevin, “You don’t want a crew cut, do you?”

Kevin looked at me and violently shook his head. “So,” I said, “no crew cut.” I pointed at a picture of a little boy with moderately short hair parted on the side. “How about that?” Kevin said “Yes, please.”

I pointed it out to Dominic. “Great, I love doing the classic cuts. Everybody does these trendy things. It’s like they want to make the little guys look like hipster Mini-Me’s. If I see one more toddler wearing a fedora, I’ll puke.” he laughed. “Now you can either stay and watch or you can be sit and be comfortable either way, I’ll need about a half an hour.”

“I think I’ll sit…Will you be okay, buddy” I asked Kevin. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. I kissed him on the forehead and walked back to the sitting area. I heard Dominic saying, “So is she your girlfriend? Does she have an older sister?” And I heard Kevin laughing. Good start I thought.

I wandered over to the girls’ section and was looking at the stuff in the boutique thinking I should probably get some stuff for the nieces and nephews before we head to the Cape tomorrow. Everything was so pink! I picked up some really girly-girl hair decorations and costume jewelry and went over to the register to pay. Lara was manning the register and asked me who these things for. I told her that Kevin and I were going up to Cape Cod and I wanted to bring some stuff for the little nieces and nephews.

“Is Kevin your brother?” she asked.

“Cousin.” I said in reply.

“I thought there was a family resemblance. He really is cute. You’re very pretty too. I wish I had hair like yours.”

“Thanks,” I said. “It’s nice of you to say that.”

“Say, do you want to get your nails done while you’re waiting for Kevin?”


“Don’t worry we’ve got grownup colors, too. I’ll get Maria over to help you out if you’re interested.”

“Sure, thanks.” I said.

So, about 20 minutes later I had one of the nicest nail jobs since my senior prom and Kevin was freshly shorn. I walked over to see him. He looked absolutely adorable and even younger than I was used to seeing him.

“Wow, you look really handsome” I said as I picked him up out of the snail chair and lowered him into the wheel chair. Then to Dominic I said, “Great job! Thanks.”

“Thanks, it was a pleasure. Your cousin is a very nice boy. He told me a lot about you. Good luck at Hopkins next year!”

I went over to the register to settle up and then rolled Kevin out of the shop. “You two had a nice little conversation.” I said.

“It was funny, he was really easy to talk to…Before we do anything else, could you take me to the bathroom?”

I got Kevin to the family restroom and he had no trouble getting to the toilet and taking care of business. “This is promising!” I said to him.

“Yeah! I really want to do pull ups tonight instead of diapers.” Then he chuckled, “I don’t think to many rising freshmen make statements like that.”

“Nope.” I laughed.

Before we left the mall, we stopped in the Lego shop and I picked up a supply of age appropriate toys for my nephews. You can say all you want about gender neutral toys. Little girls like jewelry and little boys like Lego. We made a stop at the supermarket to pick up supplies for dinner and then headed home.

It was already about 3:00 when we pulled in the drive way. I suggested Kevin take a little nap before our guests arrived, he agreed right away. I think the anti-biotics were making him a bit drowsy. After a quick trip to the bathroom where Kevin again was dry and able to use the toilet, I laid him down on his bed for a nap telling him I’d wake him in an hour. This gave me an hour of quiet to get things ready for our little party.

Chapter 40
Just as I closed the door on Kevin’s room, the phone rang. It was Ashley asking if it was alright for her and Heather and Mark to come at 5:00 rather than 6:00. “Mark,” she said, “was having some issues and he needs to be home earlier than we planned.” She told me she’d fill me in once they got there. I told her it wasn’t a problem at all. Then she asked, “Do you like mocha?” I told her I did and she said great.

Getting dinner together was easy, it was going to be a barbecue of burgers, hot dogs, salad, and corn on the cob on the back patio. So, I began by putting away everything that I thought might be embarrassing for Kevin if Ashley, Heather, and Mark were to find them - bottles, pacifiers, bibs, sippy cups, but I left the Legos and the toy cars nearby figuring it might be good for entertaining Mark.

At 4:15, I went into Kevin’s room to wake him. He was lying on top of his covers curled into a ball with his thumb in his mouth. The thumb sucking gets me every time I see it. It is so adorable and seems so natural for him. I made a mental note to ask Terri about his thumb sucking the next time I talk to her. I leaned over a gave Kevin a little nudge on the shoulder. “Time to get up, buddy.” I said.

“Mmmhmm.” he said as his eyes fluttered open. Then he realized that he was sucking his thumb. He looked up at me I could see he was beginning to blush. I winked at him and said, “Don’t worry, I didn’t see anything.”

He grimaced, “I don’t normally do that…Do I?”

“Pretty much ever time I’ve woken you up.” I said.

Now he was really blushing.

“After what we’ve been through together, that’s embarrassing you?” I laughed.

Now he chuckled. “That is kind of silly, I guess.”

“C’mon. Do you need the bathroom?”

“Yes, please.”

I hoisted him on my hip and carried him to the bathroom. When I got his diaper off, it was completely dry. “This is good,” I said, “you haven’t leaked a drop all day. The infection must be passing. Do you want to try wearing a Goodnite and boxers instead of a Pamper while our guests are here?”

“I’d prefer just boxers…but that probably is taking too much of a chance. So, yes, please.” Kevin responded.

“I think that’s a good choice. Be right back,” I said and walked up to Kevin’s room and collected the needed supplies.

Once Kevin was dressed, I gave him a once over and told him, “You can’t even tell that you’ve got the Goodnite on.”

“I really hope you’re right.”

“Oh, nearly forgot, The Dunns are coming over at 5:00, not six.”

“How come?” he asked.

“I’m not sure, Ashley called and asked if it was okay. She said Mark was having ‘issues’ and needed to be home earlier. I told her it wasn’t a problem.”

“Fine.” Kevin shrugged.

“Actually, it’s good because we can take a quick shot over to the mall after dinner now and see about getting you some of the clothes you need for the Cape. I was going to do it in the morning, but this will take some of the pressure off.”

“Sounds good to me.” Kevin said.

We took care of the last few things we needed for dinner. Actually, I took care of them and Kevin sat on one of the stools telling me where everything was. He definitely wanted to help more, but his immobility made that impossible.

As I was chopping up some vegetables for the salad, I said “So, tell me about Ashley and Heather.”

I glanced over at Kevin to see he was blushing. I smiled and said, “Well…?”

“They are just girls from Church.” he stammered.

“Really?” I teased, “Is that all?”

“Well, they are both really pretty. And Ashley is really sweet. Heather is nice too, but she’s kind of silly. Ashley is going to be a senior at St. Albert’s and Heather is a rising sophomore. I met Ashley when they had orientation for new students at St. Albert’s she was in charge of my group.”

“And Mark?” I asked.

Kevin smiled, “He’s their little brother. I didn’t know they were related until I saw them all in Church together. He’s a really nice little guy.”

“How old is he?” I asked.

“I think he’s about 7, but he’s kind of like me and really small for his age.”

“Does he go to St. Albert’s, too?”

No, he’s in special needs program at the public school. He was adopted by the Dunns when he was an infant. His mom drank a lot when she was expecting him and he has…shoot, I forget what it’s called."

“Fetal alcohol syndrome?” I supplied.

“Yeah, that’s it. Mom said it’s a mild form of it, but he’s never really going to grow up.”

“He does gymnastics though?” I asked.

“Yeah, well, kind of not really. Our coach took a bunch of us to his school for an exhibition. He liked it so much he begged his mom and dad to let him take lessons. Coach is a really good guy and he couldn’t say no, so Mark comes to practices and exhibitions and he suits up like the rest of us and some of the older guys and I help him with some of the tumbling stuff. He likes it and, well, he is a nice little guy.”

“That’s really nice.” I said.

“Oh, just so you’re prepared, Mark’s a hugger.”

We finished everything up and I moved Kevin over to the couch to await our guests.

Right at 5:00 the doorbell rang and I went over to welcome our guests. As soon as the door opened up, a tiny blond haired blur flew in and hugged me around my knees. “Well, hello!” I said smiling as I leaned down and picked him up under his arms, “you must be Mark!”

He wrapped his little arms around my neck and kissed me on the cheek. I shifted him a bit so that he was sitting on my hip and my arm was cradling his bottom. By the feel of things, I could tell that his underwear and Kevin’s were fairly similar.

Then I turned to Ashley and Heather. “Hi! and welcome.” I said as I pushed the door wide so that they could come inside. Ashley came through first. She was dressed in a pale blue sundress that brought out color in her eyes. Over one shoulder she was carrying what could only be a diaper bag.

“Hi, Carrie!” Ashley said, giving me a kiss on the cheek and taking Mark into her arms. “Do you remember Heather?”

“Of course I do. Hello Heather, I’m glad you could join us.”

Heather gave me a big smile and a kiss on the cheek too. Heather had on a pair of white capris and a pink tee-shirt. She held up a white bakery box and said, “We come bearing gifts, fresh from the gluten free bakery! Where’s Kevin?”

“Right this way!” I said as I ushered our guests into the living room.

Kevin was sitting up on the couch and started saying “Hi…” as Mark pulled out of Ashley’s grasp ran straight at Kevin. Kevin caught him with surprising gentleness and firmness and said, “Easy, buddy, I’m wounded!” The little boy looked like he might cry, but then Kevin grabbed him under the arms and swung him onto his lap. Mark hugged him around the neck. Kevin looked at me and winked. I started to laugh and so did Ashley and Heather. Yet another reminder that Kevin really is a young man and not a little boy.

“Kevin,” I said, “I bet Mark would like to see your Matchbox collection.”

“What do you think, Mark? Want to see my car collection?”

Mark beamed and nodded his head up and down. Kevin began to take the cars out of their box one at a time explaining every one to Mark. The girls and I walked into the kitchen.

“What can I get you girls to drink? We have some fresh brewed raspberry iced tea, sodas, orange juice and some flavored waters.”

“The iced tea sounds good to me,” Heather responded.

“Sounds good to me,” Ashley chimed in.

“We’ll make that three then.” I said as I got the pitcher from the fridge. “How about for Mark?”

Ashley reached into her bag and pulled out a sippy cup, “do you have milk?”

“Absolutely.” I responded and handed her the bottle.

Ashley filled up the sippy cup and screwed the top back on. Then she said, "Carrie, I’m really grateful for you for being understanding and changing the time for dinner on short notice. I told you Mark was having ‘issues’ so we had to get home a bit earlier. I didn’t want to talk about it over the phone because Mark is sensitive about it and he was in the room with me.

“Mark started wetting his pants again a couple of days ago so Mom put him back into Pullups. We have an appointment with Doc Tom tomorrow evening to see what’s going on. He wants us to monitor Mark’s sleep, fluid intake and output for twenty-four hours before the appointment. He said everything should be as routine as possible. Normally Mark gets his bath at seven, a story at 7:30 and is asleep at 8:00. We usually keep to this pretty strictly, but we would have made an exception for tonight, but because of the doctor…”

“I understand completely and it was no bother.” I responded. Then I grinned and said, “I thought I felt something under his clothes when I picked him up.”

Heather sighed, “Don’t let Mark hear you say that. He is so sensitive about needing the Pullups. It’s silly though, he has always worn diapers to bed and like a third of his classmates wear them to school. Ashley and I take care of him and we never make fun of him. You’d think he’d be okay with the whole thing. You’re lucky you don’t have do deal with diapers with Kevin.” Then she chuckled, “Anyway, he’s big enough to change himself if he needed them.”

I glanced over at Ashley who caught my eye and shook her head a little. I’m sure she kept her promise not to tell anyone about Kevin.

“It’s hard to figure little boys.” I said. “Speaking of which, let’s see how ours are doing.”

I got Kevin’s wheelchair and then we walked into the living room where Mark was sitting on Kevin’s lap totally enthralled with the cars that Kevin was describing for him. As soon as he caught sight of the wheelchair, Mark jumped up and ran to it. I started to say, “How about we move out to the patio…” when Heather let out a little gasp. Everybody looked where Heather was looking. A big wet patch covered Kevin’s lap. Kevin and I made eye contact. He shifted around a bit and then shook his head. Then I looked down at Mark who had tears running down his face as Ashley knelt down and hugged him. The whole rear of his pants was wet and he was dripping onto the hardwood floor.

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” Ashley soothed him.

“Kevin…thinks…I’m…a…bbbabbby…” Mark said between sobs.

“No, of course he doesn’t,” she said to him and she looked over Mark’s head to Kevin.

Kevin waved for her to bring Mark over to him. Kevin opened his arms for Mark to climb into his lap, but he stayed rooted in place.

“I don’t think you’re a baby.” Kevin said, “Accidents like this happen…even to big boys.”

Mark was still crying and seemed inconsolable. Then I could see Kevin make a mental decision. “I’ll tell you a secret if you absolutely promise not to tell anyone ever.”

This got Mark’s attention. “Do you promise?” Kevin pressed.

Mark nodded.

“Sometimes, I have the same problem you do, so I have to wear Pullups to bed and sometimes even during the day.” Mark didn’t seem convinced.

Then Kevin said, “I have one on right now. I’ll show you…” Then he added, “Carrie, could you help me out?”

I stepped over to Kevin who had lain back. I helped him undo his shorts and pulled them down to his thighs and then I rolled back to the top of his boxers so that the Goodnite was visible. Mark’s eyes widened and he stopped crying. Heather’s eyes widened, too and her jaw dropped open. I helped Kevin get dressed again and then helped him to sit up.

“Okay?” Kevin asked. “Now, you’ve got to remember your promise.”

Mark made the universal crossing his heart symbol and then climbed onto Kevin’s lap. Kevin said, “that’s my buddy!” and give him a kiss on the top of his head.

We were all quiet for a moment and then Heather said, “Carrie, could you help Mark into some dry clothes. Ashley and I need to talk to Kevin.”

I was a bit surprised by the request, but said, “Uh, sure.” Mark grabbed the diaper bag and I took his hand and led him to the guest bathroom for a change. He was very docile as I did this. It was like being changed by a stranger was the most normal thing in the world to him.

When I got back, Ashley said, "We’ll wait out on the patio while you help Kevin out.

Once they were outside, I pulled Kevin into my arms, supporting him in front of me rather than on my hip. I thought this would look more dignified if the girls saw us.

“That was very nice of you.” I said as I lowered Kevin onto the counter of the bathroom.

“He just seemed so miserable. I had to do something,” he responded.

“Still, very nice. What did the girls say?”

Now he smiled a little. “They said that it was brave of me to do what I did and that I was the nicest boy they had ever known and that they would die before they would ever tell anyone about me… Then they both kissed me.”

“Well, I agree. One hundred percent” and I gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Re: Summer Nurse

Hey there! Just registered to say that I think it’s too bad that you lost momentum. I’d really like to see more of this story, because the characters are likable and some of Kevin’s situations are really enviable. I hope you’ll revisit it, but even if you don’t, I think it’s a fun concept. Thanks for sharing it.

Re: Summer Nurse

So good. I love is because, it seems like it could still work as a good story with out the babying content.

Re: Summer Nurse

aaawwwwwwwww we didn’t make it to the Cape?!? pout please continue for us cause it’s a really good story!

Re: Summer Nurse

Just letting you know, this is “Completed Stories” - which means the author has no intention of continuing from wherever they stopped.